Croydon’s Sunny Edwards is the new IBF world flyweight champion after clearly outpointing Moruti Mthalane last night at Bethnal Green’s York Hall.
Edwards – nicknamed ‘Showtime’ – boxed beautifully on the back foot to outpoint the tough South African, who lost for the first time since 2008.
The South Londoner moved his record to 16-0 and replaces Mthalane as the number one ranked fighter in the division.
One scorecard had him not losing a round – 120-108 – while the other two judges went for Edwards by margins of 118-111 and 115-113.
“I knew it would be hard – not too different to my [Thomas] Essomba fight,” said Edwards. “Maybe a little bit harder. He was very good at closing the gap down.
“I had it about seven-five or eight-four [in rounds]. The 120-108 didn’t really give him a chance, I wasn’t a fan of that scorecard. I feel like I deserved to win and their corner said I won. I’m over the moon [beating] the Ring Magazine number one.
“I told you it might not be pretty all the time or exciting all the time but I’m very, very hard to beat. I’m sure Moruti will say the same as all my other opponents. I hit him hard enough to keep him off me, but my god did he make me work for it. My legs after that sixth round were tired like they never were before.
“Grant [Smith, his trainer] kept reminding me of my kid’s name every round – that’s when you know it isn’t going the best! That means the last round was close.
“After the sixth round he came quick in the seventh and eighth. I tied him up well. I was getting my head in awkward positions and getting my arms inside to frustrate him. I could hear him breathing and I thought ‘one or two more rounds at this pace and he’s going to start flagging’. His sharpness fell in the last three rounds because in the middle-late rounds I was trying to counter and he was blocking everything, unless I was going through the middle first I was finding it hard to score.
“I wasn’t worried. I’ve never, ever been stopped. I’ve only been put down the two times the BT viewers have seen, and both times they were when I switched off. Getting stopped isn’t in my thought process yet and hopefully for the rest of my career it won’t.
“Even when I was getting clipped, I know what to do. I know how to open up the gap and keep the distance. When he was succeeding he wasn’t doubling or tripling up on that success. I was closing him down and making it hard for him.
“He made my ears do that little ‘ding’ a couple of times but most opponents do with those little eight ounce gloves on.”
Mthalane’s record drops to 39-3. The 38-year-old had been inactive since December 2019.
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