By Ron Jackson
South Africa’s Moruti Mthalane (38-2, 25 KOs) produced an outstanding performance to retain his IBF flyweight belt for the second time with a unanimous 12 round points decision over a very game #4 ranked Masayuki Kuroda (30-8-3, KOs) of Japan at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo on Monday.
Judges Neville Hotz and Masakasa Murase both scored it 116-112 and judge Ian Scott had a more realistic score of 117-112.
Mthalane (50.80kg) dominated from the opening round against the rangy and taller Kuroda (50.69kg) as he scored with stinging shots throughout, whereas most of the punches thrown by Kuroda were taken on the gloves and arms of the South African.
A superbly conditioned Mthalane made a confident start through the first three round as he scored with left and right combinations to the head.
Kuroda had a better round four and did enough to shade it.
At the end of round five, Kuroda was already showing signs of wear and his corner had attended to a small cut on his left eye.
Kuroda was warned to keep his punches up in round eight by referee Mark Nelson, in what was a clean fight.
The gutsy Kuroda was punished with lefts and rights to the head and body throughout the rest of fight and was badly marked up and bleeding at the end as the champion finished strongly to take the last two rounds.
The other main organization champions are WBA, Artem Dalakian (Azerbaijan), WBC, Charlie Edwards (England) and WBO, Kosei Tanaka (Japan).