Trevor Cramer

By Trevor Cramer

Senior sports sub-editor

‘Hexecutioner’ believes he will be a world champion again

After close to two-and-a-half years of inactivity and two aborted fights through no fault of his own, former multiple world champion Budler will be back in the ring again next weekend.

One of South Africa’s most popular little men of the ring, Hekkie Budler, is convinced he still has the goods to claim another world title.

After close to two-and-a-half years of inactivity and two aborted fights through no fault of his own, the former multiple world champion known as “The Hexecutioner”, will headline Uppercut Promotions’ “Homecoming” card against the Filipino Jonathan Almacen at the Booysens Boxing Club next Saturday (22 May).

Headed up by promoter Cyril Lehong, Uppercut Promotions is a new player on the South African boxing promotional landscape and this will be their maiden tournament.

A combination of Covid-19 protocol issues and a tournament and fight cancellation in recent months has kept 36-fight veteran Budler (32-4-0) out of the ring.

He last stepped between the ropes in a competitive fight at the end of December 2018, when he lost his WBA Super and Ring junior flyweight titles via a 10th round technical knockout to Hiroto Kyoguchi in Macau.

Nobody will probably be more relieved than Budler when the first bell tolls next Saturday and he can finally throw some leather against Almacen (7-3-2) in a fight for the WBC Silver International title.

The WBC’s Silver International title is one of that sanctioning organisation’s regional titles and below the WBC Silver and world championship.

But for Budler, trained by Colin Nathan at the Hotbox-MTK Africa Gym in Johannesburg, it is certainly a route back into the rankings of the major organisations.

‘World title fight’

While listed as inactive, Budler’s name disappeared off the rankings of the major organisations, barring the WBC, who retained him as their No 3 contender for the world title held by Japan’s Kenshiro Teraji since 2017.

Budler won’t hear of talk about this being a “keep busy” or “comeback” fight.

“I’m approaching it as if this is a world title fight. That’s just how I am mentally wired,” he said.

Barely missing a moment to train hard, he has actually been fight-ready for more than a year.

“The stop-start has been a bit of a struggle, but you can train and spar as hard as you want and as much as you want, it’s still not the same as a fight. I believe I’m ready, strong, I feel good and I have still got what it takes to win another world title or two,” proclaimed Budler.

Budler’s stablemate and sparring partner, former IBO straw-weight champion Simpiwe Koncko (19-6-0), will also be making a comeback on the same bill after a lengthy layoff, where he is set to trade leather with Almacen’s compatriot, Ariston Aton (9-3).

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