By Ron Jackson
Hekkie Budler won the IBO junior flyweight belt on a majority hometown decision when he beat Juanito Rubillar on points over 12 rounds at Emperors Palace Casino, Kempton Park, on Saturday night. Judges Lulama Mtya and Deon Dwarte scored the fight 117-113 and 115-113 whilst judge Isaac Tshabalala had it 114-114. The three South African judges obviously did not take body punches into account as Budler received a sustained attack to the midriff from round four.
Budler (48.80kg) made an impressive start as he took the first two and possibly also the third round against the slow starting Rubillar (48.98kg).
The southpaw Rubillar picked up the pace in the fourth round and landed some solid blows to the body and this was the pattern throughout the fight.
Referee Pete Podgorski from the US erred by not being stricter on the Filipino for using his head as a battering ram even though he did warn him on occasions.
By the seventh round Rubillar was in complete control as he continued to hammer away at the body to force Budler on to the back foot.
The gutsy Budler showed a lot of heart and fought courageously throughout but this was not enough accept in the eyes of the judges.
Rubillar’s record dropped to 48-14-7 with 23 knockouts and Budler improved to 14-0, 5 KOs.
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Tshifiwa Munyai (53.00kg) retained his WBA Intercontinental bantamweight title when outpointed Filipino Daniel Ferraras (53.52kg) by wide margins. However, he had to come back from a big knockdown in the tenth when he was possibly saved by the bell.
In a boring encounter Thomas Oosthuizen (75.88kg) retained the WBA Pan African super middleweight title against Thomas Awinbono (75.70kg) of Ghana who was only intent on survival and did not come to fight.
Jason Bedeman (60.86kg) had to come back from two knockdowns in the first round before he stopped Ghanaian Bilal Mohammad (60.78kg) at 2 minute and six seconds into the second round to win the vacant WBA Pan African lightweight title.
In a heavyweight encounter Florante Simba (88.88kg) was just too fast and strong for the ageing Stephen Castle (96.26kg) before he stopped him at 39 seconds into the fourth round.
Simba must be admired for taking on the fight as his younger brother collapsed and died in his arms only a few days earlier.
In the opening bout of the evening lightweight Kgotla Baeti (61.22kg) from Botswana stopped the rather jaded Daniel Botman (60.94kg) in the fourth round of a scheduled six.