Nick Gordon
2 minute read
21 Jun 2014
11:00 am

Budler enters the unknown

Nick Gordon

When Hekkie Budler steps into the ring in Monte Carlo tonight, he'll be heading into unknown territory in front of an audience who have yet to see the diminutive champion in action.

FILE PICTURE: Hekkie Budler. Picture: Neil McCartney.

The 26-year-old holder of the WBA and IBO minimumweight world title belts will put his credentials on the line against Pigmy Kokietgym of Thailand as part of the “KO at the Casino” bill put together by Golden Gloves in the French principality of Monaco.

“I’ve settled in nicely and I love this place,” Budler said from Monte Carlo yesterday before adding that he expected the challenger to be a tough foe.

“I expect a hard fight. I met him this week and he looks ready, but I’m coming back to South Africa as the champion,” the “Hexecutioner” added.

The 25-1 champion is coming off two impressive stoppage wins and will be looking to test his power once more against a challenger who brings plenty of experience to the ring having featured in 60 bouts as a professional.

The Thai fighter, rated No 8 by the WBA, has only had one shot at a world title back in 2010, losing on a split decision. The bulk of his bouts have been six rounders, so whether he has the gas tank to go the distance remains to be seen.

“Pigmy looks in top shape and we are expecting a tough fight. But you can expect a devastating performance from Hekkie Budler,” his conditioner, Colin Nathan, said yesterday.

Another South African will feature on the undercard when Johnny Muller gets proceedings under way against Doudou Ngumbu in a light-heavyweight battle set for 10 rounds.

Having stepped in as a last minute replacement for stablemate Tommy Oosthuizen, the brawler will be looking to prove that he can step it up at international level. Muller has a career record of 16-3-2 and is the current holder of the South African light-heavyweight title while his opponent is 32-5.

The card will be headlined by star signing Martin Murray as he looks to improve his credentials for a possible world title shot.

Murray was rusty in his last outing, when making his South African debut in April, and he needs to put on a good performance against the 29-2-1 Bursak.