News

Nick Gordon
2 minute read
15 Jan 2014
6:10 am

Budler leads boxing pack

Nick Gordon

For Hekkie Budler, Johnny Muller and Ryno Liebenberg the year could hold a host of opportunities.

FILE PICTURE: Hekkie Budler. Picture: Neil McCartney

February 15 has been earmarked as the start of their campaigns for the year and all three have been pitted against opponents who could prove to be stern tests.

Having enjoyed busy, but fruitful, campaigns last year the trio will appear on the “African Explosion” at Emperor’s Palace, with Budler headlining in what will be the first defence of his newly acquired WBA minimumweight title.

Stan Christodoulou during the press conference for the African Explosion boxing tournament, 14 January 2013  to be held at Emperors Palce on the 15 February 2013. Picture: Neil McCartney

Stan Christodoulou during the press conference for the African Explosion boxing tournament, 14 January 2013 to be held at Emperors Palce on the 15 February 2013. Picture: Neil McCartney

The diminutive fighter will also put his IBO crown on the line against Colombia’s Karluis Diaz. The South American visitor has already captured the WBA Latin crown, but is taking a first crack at a world title and brings a record of 21-4 to the contest.

Budler was handed the WBA title last week after champion Ryo Miyazaki vacated the belt due to weight problems. The elevation to full champion came as a result of his status as interim champion, having stopped Hugo Verchelli last year to claim that title.

“It only really hit me a few days after it happened,” Budler said yesterday – before admitting his eagerness to return to action is his trainer, Colin Nathan.

“We’re in for a harder fight against Diaz. People have said Hekkie didn’t earn the belt because it was just handed to him, but we want to prove them wrong. Nothing can be disputed provided we keep winning,” Nathan said.

Ryno Liebenberg during the press conference for the African Explosion boxing tournament, 14 January 2013  to be held at Emperors Palce on the 15 February 2013. Picture: Neil McCartney

Ryno Liebenberg during the press conference for the African Explosion boxing tournament, 14 January 2013 to be held at Emperors Palce on the 15 February 2013. Picture: Neil McCartney

Liebenberg takes a step up in class when he meets Joey Vegas for the WBC International light-heavyweight title.

“I only want to fight the best and hopefully Vegas gives us more than six rounds – but we’ll see,” Liebenberg, who is 14-0, said at the announcement yesterday.

Johnny Muller  during the press conference for the African Explosion boxing tournament, 14 January 2013  to be held at Emperors Palce on the 15 February 2013. Picture: Neil McCartney

Johnny Muller during the press conference for the African Explosion boxing tournament, 14 January 2013 to be held at Emperors Palce on the 15 February 2013. Picture: Neil McCartney

Muller, the current South African light-heavyweight champion, meets Wilbeforce Shihepo for the WBC silver international title as he looks to prove his credentials and show he is maturing as a fighter by putting his record of 15-3-2 against the experience of a campaigner who has won 21 times and lost seven.

Other fights on the undercard will see junior-welterweight prospect Adam de Moor take on Moses Kamera of Botswana, while unbeaten Ricardo Hiraman meets Phumudzo Monyai, and undefeated junior-flyweight Thabang Ramagole takes on Edward Disolwane.

Nkosinathi Joyi during the press conference for the African Explosion boxing tournament, 14 January 2013  to be held at Emperors Palce on the 15 February 2013. Picture: Neil McCartney

Nkosinathi Joyi during the press conference for the African Explosion boxing tournament, 14 January 2013 to be held at Emperors Palce on the 15 February 2013. Picture: Neil McCartney