Nick Gordon
2 minute read
14 Jun 2014
9:00 am

Budler in a good space

Nick Gordon

The last time Hekkie Budler left the country for a fight he was just getting used to life as a world champion.

FILE PICTURE: Hekkie Budler. Picture: Neil McCartney.

This time around though, when the diminutive Budler and his team depart for the French principality of Monaco tonight they will leave with two world title belts as part of their luggage and a longer list of victims.

Budler forms part of the “KO at the Casino” bill put together by Golden Gloves next weekend when he meets Thailand’s experienced Pigmy Kokietgym in a bout for the WBA and IBO minimumweight world titles.

“We’re going there to win. We’re going to Monte Carlo to make a statement and prove that Hekkie is the best strawweight in the world,” trainer Colin Nathan said before the team’s departure this evening.

One of the added advantages of Budler’s 10-week training camp is that it has taken place at high altitude in Johannesburg in comparison to the fight venue which is at sea level.

The fact that jetlag clearly isn’t going to be a factor either given the one hour time difference means there’s no reason why the 26-year-old fighter won’t settle into his new surroundings immediately.

“We’ll be spot on by the time the bell rings next Saturday night. Hekkie is an absolute professional and travelling has never been an issue. We’ve had a good camp for this fight and it’s gone really well,” said Nathan.

“It has been smooth sailing. His weight is spot on and he is exactly where he needs to be in terms of his preparation at this point,” he added.

Challenger Kokietgym comes into the fight with a career record 52-6-2 in a 60-fight career and while his record shows a great deal of experience there’s been only one world title attempt when he lost on a split decision to compatriot Kwanthai Sithmorseng for the WBA belt back in 2010.

“Pigmy has got a lot of experience and he seemed unlucky to lose that split decision when fighting for the world title the first time. We know what we’re up against – a come-forward kind of fighter.

“But Hekkie’s speed and ring generalship will be the difference in this fight. We’ve got a good gameplan and we’ve done our homework,” said Nathan.