Baby Face ready to rumble

 ROUTINE Moruti Mthalane jogs at Glen Hazel in Johannesburg before his workout at the gym for his next fight. Picture: Tebogo Letsie
ROUTINE Moruti Mthalane jogs at Glen Hazel in Johannesburg before his workout at the gym for his next fight. Picture: Tebogo Letsie

Moruti “Baby Face” Mthalane will have his first fight in almost eight months when he meets Lwandile “Marvelous” Phillip in a 10-round flyweight bout at the Olive Convention Centre in Durban on August 5.

This will also be Mthalane’s first ring appearance under his new trainer Colin Nathan since the pair teamed up two months ago.

The International Boxing Organisation (IBO) kingpin’s 12-year relationship with long-time mentor Nick Durandt ended in May after the veteran trainer announced his retirement from boxing.

Now that the 33-year-old Baby Face has found a new man to guide his boxing fortune, his career seems to be back on track.

Speaking from Nathan’s Hot Box Gym in Glenhazel, Johannesburg this week, Mthalane said he was elated that he would be fighting the Port Elizabeth-based Phillip.

“I know Phillip very well. He
is a talented fighter who comes forward all the time. I believe he will give me a good match,” said Mthalane.

He said the fight would hopefully build his confidence ahead of his forthcoming title defence against an unknown foe due to be announced in two months.

Mthalane last threw punches competitively in December when he beat Filipino Renz Rosia with a seventh-round stoppage at Olive Convention Centre.

Baby Face says he has been sparring with stablemate Simphiwe Khonco, holder of the IBO minimumweight championship.

“He’s almost my size and has sharp reflexes. This keeps me on my toes during sparring.”

Mthalane won the then vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) diadem by beating Mexican Julio César Miranda by 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 was after pulling out of his mandatory defence against Thailand’s Amnat Ruenroeng, the erstwhile IBF title holder.

The 23-year-old Phillip, who is studying towards a diploma in hospitality management at Port Elizabeth College, said he was confident of winning.

He comes to the fight with a record of 12 wins, four defeats and a draw from 17 bouts.

“I have been working hard to prepare for the fight. I know Moruti is quite experienced, but I will cause an upset by knocking him out,” said Phillip.

Phillip campaigned in the professional ranks in 2010.

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