IBF flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane will defend his crown against mandatory challenger Jayson Mama in a long-awaited homecoming bout in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, on December 20.

Mthalane (39-2, 26 KOs) has not fought in his native South Africa for more than three years. His last fight on home soil saw him halt Ardin Diale within two rounds in October 2017. In the intervening time, the 38-year-old road warrior won the IBF title a second time and has defended it three times, once in Macao and twice in Japan.

The South African’s last defence took place on December 23 of last year when he stopped three-weight world champion Akira Yaegashi in the ninth round. His management team are delighted to have secured their fighter a well-deserved homecoming.

“We’re genuinely very excited to be in the process of finalising this homecoming opportunity for Moruti,” Mthalane’s manager Mike Altamura told Boxing Social. “It is long overdue. He’s been a travelling road warrior these past few years, so it’s quite a refreshing change up to be finally returning home.”

IBF No.3 rated flyweight Jayson Mama will be hoping to fair better than his compatriot Diale. Mama (15-0, 8 KOs) was successful in the IBF ‘Silk Road’ tournament in 2019, winning a unanimous decision against Teeraphong Utaida in the final. Mama’s biggest win to date came over former WBA minimumweight champion Ekkawit Songui, who was declared unfit to continue due to injury in the third round.

But Mthalane is not looking past his unheralded challenger. “Mama is the mandatory [challenger] and a very decent test,” said Altamura. “He’s a strong, unbeaten contender and will be a livewire. Moruti shall be extremely focused and prepared.”

Main image: MTK Global.