Baby Face hails move to Nathan’s stable
International Boxing Organisation (IBO) flyweight champion Moruti “Baby Face” Mthalane says he does not regret joining Colin Nathan’s stable.
He believes his decision will enable him to get more fights before he hangs up his gloves in three years’ time.
The 33-year-old, KwaZulu-Natal-born fighter, who is based in Johannesburg, parted ways with his long-time mentor Nick Durandt last week before the latter officially announced his own retirement from boxing. They had been together for 12 years.
Baby Face last fought in December, when he beat Filipino Renz Rosia by an eighth-round technical knockout in defence of his IBO crown at the Olive Convention Centre in Durban. Before then, Mthalane had put his championship belt on the line against Mexican Odilon Zaleta, who he beat on points at the Durban ICC in October 2014. This was seven months after he won the title. Baby Face believes he will be more active now that he has teamed up with Nathan, whose protégés include former World Boxing Association (WBA) and IBO unified minimumweight king Hekkie Budler and Simphiwe Khonco.
Mthalane was in a cheerful mood this week when City Press visited him at his new home, the Hot Box Gym in Glenhazel, a suburb of Johannesburg. He was going through some light exercises because he had flu.
“I believe I made the right decision by joining Colin’s gym. I could no longer get fights while I was still with Nick, and this was beginning to affect my career,” said Mthalane.
“Nick and I decided I should join forces with the Hot Box stable, where I will obviously be kept busy.”
The former International Boxing Federation (IBF) champion said he was hoping to win the WBA championship before calling it a day.
Nathan said he would like to see his charge have at least two big bouts this year.
“Baby Face is a disciplined and loyal fighter who needs to be kept as active as possible before he hangs up his gloves,” said the mentor, who goes by the moniker Nomakanjani.
He said he had written to the World Boxing Council and the WBA to ask the two sanctioning bodies to consider his charge for a higher rating.
Mthalane won the then vacant IBF title by beating Mexican Julio César Miranda thanks to a unanimous points decision at Wembley Indoor Arena, Johannesburg, in 2009.
He made four successful defences before he was stripped of his crown in 2014. This happened after he pulled out of his mandatory defence against Thailand’s Amnat Ruenroeng, the current IBF kingpin.
BUSY Moruti Mthalane hits a punching bag at the Hot Box Gym, which he has just joined
NEW TEAM Moruti Mthalane and his trainer, Colin Nathan, have a bright future together