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Budler on brink of history as three titles beckon

SA superstar could be first man to hold major titles at once

Challenger Hekkie Budler (C) of South Africa celebrates his decision victory over champion Ryoichi Taguchi of Japan to win the IBF & WBA Light Flyweight Title Bout at Ota City General Gymnasium on May 20, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan.
Challenger Hekkie Budler (C) of South Africa celebrates his decision victory over champion Ryoichi Taguchi of Japan to win the IBF & WBA Light Flyweight Title Bout at Ota City General Gymnasium on May 20, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan.
Image: Kiyoshi Ota

Hekkie Budler is on the cusp of something special when takes the second step on the quest of winning three prestigious boxing belts – the WBA super, WBC and The Ring junior-flyweight – in one night.

His first was winning the WBC elimination fight in June 2022 when he defeated Mexican Elwin Soto in Mexico.

Now on Monday Budler faces the moment of truth against three title champion Kenshiro Teraji in Tokyo.

Budler has won three titles – the WBA super, the IBF and The Ring titles – before in 2018 and that humongous victory made him the first South African to win three world titles simultaneously, and the first to win the Ring Magazine title.

But what makes the fight on Monday more special is that there is the WBC belt on line. Only two South Africans have won that most-sought-after belt – Thulani Malinga and Dingaan Thobela.

Budler will best be advised to fight with courage and exert all his strength. At 35, he does not need to change the direction of the wind against Teraji but he can adjust his sails to reach his destination.

Budler’s advantage is that he is still with the same trainer, Colin Nathan, who knows exactly which buttons to pep him up and also knows when his charge is in trouble. They have been together for 16 years and they have won 35 bouts in 39 fights.

“Teraji is very strong and aggressive, tenacious fighter once he gets going; he throws a lot of combination but we are ready,” said Nathan yesterday.

“Everything Hekkie has done in his career up until this point has prepared us for what is gona be presented to us on Monday and I am very confident that we are going to be champions again and produce a stunning upset.”

Teraji has been a professional boxer from 2014. He is beatable. Masamichi Yabuki proved that with a 10th round stoppage of their 12 rounder for the WBC junior lightweight title in 2021. Teraji, 31, has a single loss against 21 wins.

The tournament will be broadcast on SS Variety 4 from 1pm, with the main bout anticipated to begin shortly after 2pm.

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