Budler rewrites history with victory over Japan's Taguchi

SA's Hekkie Budler, right, punches Japan's Ryoichi Taguchi in yesterday's fight in Tokyo.
SA's Hekkie Budler, right, punches Japan's Ryoichi Taguchi in yesterday's fight in Tokyo.
Image: Kazuhiro NOGI/AFP

Hekkie "Hexecutioner" Budler rewrote the history books of South African and African boxing a million miles away from home yesterday.

He dethroned Ryoichi Taguchi as the IBF, WBA Super and the Ring Magazine junior flyweight champion in Japan.

Budler, 30, became the first local boxer to win three world titles simultaneously, the first African to win the Ring Magazine belt, and the first South African under the new Boxing SA (BSA) Act of 2001 to win the Ring Magazine title.

Budler achieved the feat when no one had given him even the slightest of chances.

Taguchi had already defended the WBA Super title seven times and the Japanese boxer was bidding for the first defence of the IBF strap that he had won from Milan Melindo in December.

Budler won by a razor-thin points decision yesterday. All three judges, including Neville Hotz of SA, scored the fight 114-113.

BSA chairman Peter Ngatane said: "BSA wishes to congratulate Hekkie and his team for this unparalleled accomplishment. This is not only a victory for Hekkie but for the entire boxing movement of South Africa and the continent of Africa. We salute Hekkie."

All credit must go to trainer Colin Nathan, who did not take Budler's controversial loss to Melindo for the IBF belt in the Philippines last year lying down. Nathan lodged a formal complaint with the IBF's championship committee, which ruled that Melindo must defend against Budler.

Melindo had already committed to defend against Taguchi. The arrangement was the winner of that unification bout must face Budler, and the former IBO and WBA Super mini flyweight titlist ended Taguchi's reign.

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