SA world champ Hekkie Budler out to silence critics

2014-01-14 17:57

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South Africa’s dual minimumweight world champion, Hekkie Budler, will headline the first boxing mega-event of the year on February 15, promoter Golden Gloves said today at a press conference Emperors Palace, Joburg.

The 25-year-old has vowed to silence his detractors by successfully defending his International Boxing Organisation and World Boxing Association (WBA) minimumweight titles when he clashes with Karluis Diaz of Columbia.

“It’s a fight I have to take and win decisively. My haters have been saying I was handed the WBA belt on a silver platter, but as a disciplined athlete [I do] the talking inside the ring,” said Budler.

After defeating Hugo Verchelli for the WBA interim title in November, Budler was recently elevated to full champion status after Ryo Miyazaki vacated the title last month to move up a division.

His trainer, Colin Nathan, also weighed in – praising his charge as “the best pound-for-pound boxer in South Africa”.

Nathan said they were unfazed by claims that Budler always had the upper hand at Emperors Palace, where he has fought more than 90% of his fights.

“We can fight anywhere in the world, as long as it makes business sense. Boxing is a business before being a sport,” he said.

Other main fights on the bill:

» Ryno Liebenberg v Joey Vegas (Uganda) – World Boxing Council international light heavyweight title

» Johnny Muller v Wilberforce Shihepo (Namibia) – World Boxing Council silver international light heavyweight title

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