East London’s IBF/IBO flyweight mandatory challenger Muruti Mthalane will jet off to Las Vegas on Wednesday evening for his challenge against Filipino Nonito Donaire.
The eagerly anticipated clash will take place at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on November 1.
Mthalane, who has been working hard at trainer Nick Durandt’s gymnasium, has promised to bring back the titles.
“I am superfit and ready to rumble as we speak,” he said.
He will be travelling with assistant trainer Kenneth Mabunda but Durandt will follow them on Saturday as he will have to man the corner of his other charge Manelisi Leli Mbilase in his South African featherweight title clash against Thando Vukuza in Carltonville on Friday.
Durandt said Mthalane will travel without sparring partners as he has already done all the sparring needed for the bout. “He does not need any more sparring sessions as he has engaged in heated sparring back home,” he said.
Reluctant to reveal the fight strategy Mthalane will adopt, Durandt let it slip that his charge would aim to win the fight in the second half of the bout.
“The first five rounds will be crucial as Donaire is most dangerous in those rounds. But, if Mthalane can shade some of the early rounds and then launch a full scale attack as the rounds progress, then he will easily beat Donaire.”
Mthalane, nicknamed “Baby Face,” has lost only once in 23 bouts, when he was stopped by Nkqubela Gwazela in the 11th round after he was ahead on points in their SA flyweight title clash at Secunda in 2004. Since then, the stocky fighter has won all nine bouts, including seven by stoppages and a lopsided points win over world class Australian Hussein Hussein in an IBF title eliminator for the right to challenge Donaire.
Donaire, nicknamed “Filipino Flash,” has reportedly increased his preparations in order to make the second defence of his crowns a successful one.
In US publication interviews, the Filipino said he had studied Mthalane and discovered that he is volume puncher.
“But I am ready for anything he will come up with, be it boxing or pure brawling,” he was quoted as saying.
Regarding a possible weight struggle by Donaire, Durandt said Mthalane was not pinning his hopes on that.
“When Mabuza fought (Rafael) Marquez for the IBF bantamweight, Marquez was said to be struggling with weight but guess what happened? Marquez remained strong throughout the fight so I am not even banking on Donaire’s reported weight problem. We will simply go in there and beat him with our own boxing strategy.”