December 31 promises to be a day of noteworthy fights as a third world title fight is announced for a boxing card in Macau.
Moruti Mthalane will defend his IBF flyweight title against Masahiro Sakamoto. The fight, as well as the entire card, will take place at the Wynn Palace Cotai. This will be Mthalane's first world title defense after winning the belt earlier this year as part of the undercard for Manny Pacquiao's WBA "regular" welterweight championship win over Lucas Matthysse.
Mthalane defeated Muhammad Waseem by unanimous decision to win the title for the second time in his career after holding the belt for a number of years nearly a decade ago. The title was previously held by Donnie Nietes who had vacated the belt months before because he wanted to win a world title at 115 pounds.
Sakamoto is a 27-year-old boxer from Japan who won the WBO Asia Pacific flyweight title in December 2017. Sakamoto, who has a 13-1 record, is in the middle of a five-fight win streak since losing a regional title fight to Sho Kimura in 2016
The fight joins two other world title bouts that are also scheduled to take place on the card. The main event is a vacant WBO super flyweight title fight between Nietes and Kazuto Ioka where the winner would win a world title in four different weight classes. Also announced for the event is Hekkie Budler's first WBA light flyweight title defense against former minimumweight titleholder Hiroto Kyoguchi.