Libranza faces Mthalane for IBO title


Filipino rising star Genisis “Cobra” Libranza will challenge reigning South African International Boxing Organization (IBO) world flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane on April 28 at Cape Town in Western Cape in South Africa.

Libranza, 23, undefeated in 11 fights with eight knockouts, and trainer-manager Nonoy Neri leave for South Africa on Monday.

Neri said the Agusan del Norte native is 100 percent ready for the biggest battle in his young boxing career.
“Genisis is ready physically and mentally for this world title defense. He knows how important this fight is,” Neri, also one of the assistant trainers of Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao, told The Manila Times on Sunday.

“This fight really means a lot for his career. If he wins, there will be more opportunities for him in the flyweight division,” added Neri. “There are only few Filipinos left in the flyweight rank because some of them are already in the higher divisions.”

Neri has knocked out his last three Filipino opponents since 2015.

Donnie Nietes, who will fight Thai fighter Komgrich Nantapech on April 29 in Cebu for the International Boxing Federation flyweight belt, and former world champion Brian Viloria are the only well-know flyweight fighters of the country.

Neri added that Libranza has a strong advantage against his South African foe when it comes to the fight.

“Mthalane has a long layoff and we can take that as our advantage,” added Neri, referring to the South African’s last fight was on December 12, 2015. Mthalane (32-2 record with 21 knockouts) scored a ninth round technical knockout win against Renz Rosia in that bout.

Neri, however, expressed concern about the opponent’s hometown advantage in South Africa.
“I believe he (Libranza) will do his best to win the fight,” said Neri.


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