By Ron Jackson
Photo: Jeff Ellis
In a battle of the B’s, Hekkie Budler defends his IBO junior flyweight belt for the second time when he meets IBO strawweight champion Gideon Buthelezi at Emperors Palace near Kempton Park on Thursday night.
Budler (17-0, 5 KOs) who was born in Johannesburg on May 18, 1988 was an outstanding amateur and won the SA light flyweight championship in 2005 before joining the professional ranks in July 2007 when he stopped Michael Sediane in the first round.
In April 2009 he won the IBO All Africa light flyweight title when he outpointed Charity Mukondeleli and made successful defences against Doctor Ntsele and Motswaki Moselesele.
On February 27 last year he won the vacant IBO junior flyweight belt when he scored a highly disputed 12 round points decision over Filipino Juanito Rubillar at Emperors Palace.
However, four months later at the same venue in a return match Budler gave a brave display to retain the belt in a gruelling hard-fought match on a split decision.
Once again the media and ringsiders were divided on the decision but it was nothing like the hometown decision in their first fight.
In his most recent fight on August 14, 2010 he went to Laredo, Texas and struggled against Mexican Evaristo Primero who had not won a fight since 2001. He only got past him on a split decision.
Buthelezi (11-2, 4 KOs) was also an outstanding amateur and won the SA strawweight championship in 2005. However, he has lost to Budler on two occasions in the amateur ranks.
The southpaw Buthelezi was born in Sebokeng on July 16, 1986 and made his pro debut on July 21, 2006 against Nestor Bolum, but was outpointed over four rounds.
In May 2008 he outpointed Jonas Kgasago to win the South African mini flyweight title but lost it in his first defence less than four months later when he was stopped in the sixth round by Tshepo Lefele.
However, after this setback he stopped Thobani Mbangeni in one round and then captured the vacant WBO Africa mini flyweight title.
On June 19 last year he won the vacant IBO strawweight belt against the limited Filipino Ronelle Ferras in a boring encounter.
However, in his last fight on September 18, 2010 in what was to be the first defence of his IBO belt against Julius Alcos from the Philippines he was outstanding form and scored a wide ten round points decision. Alcos failed to make the weight on his second attempt, so the belt was not at stake.
Should Buthelezi lose the fight it is possible that the IBO will strip him of his belt.
Ignoring the so called world championship belts this is a good match-up at South African title level and one must favour Budler to win on points in a hard-fought tussle.
The Box and Dine tournament to honour four-time “world” champion Baby Jake Matlala is presented by Jeff Ellis of African Ring in conjunction with Rodney Berman of Golden Gloves Promotions.
Undefeated heavyweight prospect Florante Simba will be hoping to make it 9-0 when he faces Sting Gonorenda Chomunorwa 6-8; 4.
Also at heavyweight Stephen Castle 5-1-2; 2 meets Elvis Moyo 0-3-1 in a scheduled six-rounder.
Moving up to lightweight Warren Joubert 16-2-1; 10 faces Takalani Dangala 5-5; 2 over six rounds.
In a lightweight bout over four rounds Alexander Jonker meets Charles Sekhwibidu and in another four rounder at featherweight Prince Ndlovu faces Gert Arris.