Budler challenges for three titles in a night

Hekkie Budler will challenge Japanese WBA and IBF champ Ryoichi Taguchi in Tokyo on May 20. The winner will also take home the Ring Magazine belt.
Hekkie Budler will challenge Japanese WBA and IBF champ Ryoichi Taguchi in Tokyo on May 20. The winner will also take home the Ring Magazine belt.
Image: TSHEKO KABASIA

Accomplished boxer Hekkie "Hexecutioner" Budler will be involved in a history-making match when he challenges for three titles in one night.

The former IBO and WBA mini-flyweight and IBO junior flyweight champion will challenge WBA and IBF champion Ryoichi Taguchi, of Japan, in Tokyo on May 20. The winner at Ota-City General Gymnasium will also take home the Ring Magazine belt.

Budler's upcoming bout makes him the first professional boxer from Africa to be involved in such a high-profile championship boxing match.

Taguchi will be making his eighth defence of the WBA strap and the first for the IBF title. He won the IBF title from Filipino Milan Melindo, whose reign should have ended in September when he defended against Budler. But Melindo won the bout on points in what many regarded as a hometown decision.

Referee Wes Melton incorrectly ruled a knockdown against Budler. Two judges scored the bloody battle 115-113 and 117-110 for Melindo, while their colleague aptly scored it 115-112 for Budler.

Trainer Colin Nathan wrote to the hierarchy of the New York-based IBF complaining, and a rematch was ordered.

But Melindo met Taguchi and the agreement was that the winner would then defend against Budler.

Nathan said: "This is the biggest challenge for Hekkie. We will be fighting a well-rounded champion and the No 1 boxer in the world. Taguchi has high work rate. He is very tall for the division. I am pushing Hekkie really, really hard. I fancy our chances."

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