By Ron Jackson
In an intriguing matchup between a relative novice and a hardened pro Hekkie Budler faces Filipino southpaw Juanito Rubillar for the vacant IBO junior flyweight belt at the Emperors Palace Casino, Kempton Park on Saturday night. The tournament is presented by Rodney Berman of Golden Gloves Promotions. The wide divide between the 21-year-old Budler and the 33-year-old Rubillar is shown when you realize that Budler was only five years old when Rubillar made his pro debut in 1994 and by the time Budler had his first pro fight in July 2007 the Filipino already had 59 professional fights under his belt.
Budler, who was an outstanding amateur, won the light flyweight championship in 2005 before joining the professional ranks in 2007.
In his first year he racked up win three wins inside the distance against Michael Sediane, Petros Mahlangu, Sibusiso Ngqalathi and a points victory over Mario Gaxiola in Canada.
In 2008 he remained unbeaten in five fights and in April 2009 won the vacant IBO Africa junior flyweight title with a hard earned victory over Charity Mukondeleli who is not even ranked in Boxing SA’s latest ratings.
Next up Hekkie outpointed Khanyakude Mukansi, Doctor Ntsele and finished up 2009 with a sensational first round knockout over Motswaki Moselesele.
Despite his impressive record of (13-0, 5 KOs) none of the aforementioned fighters are anywhere near world class so his match-up against Rubillar is a giant step-up.
The veteran Rubillar (48-13-7, 23 KOs) who fights out of Sucat in the Philippines has met some top rated fighters in the light flyweight division since fighting to a four round draw against Ramil Gevero in his pro debut on July 23, 1994.
In November 1999 he won the WBC International minimumweight title when he stopped former IBF champion Nico Thomas and in his next fight took South Africa’s Zolani Petello all the way over 12 rounds in a challenge for the IBF minimumweight belt.
Other outstanding fighters that he has met in his 16-year career are Jorge Arce, Joma Gamboa, Wandee Singwancha, Omar Nino Romero, Edgar Sosa and Giovanna Segura.
Rubillar who is the overwhelming favorite has only won two of his last five fights and could be a slightly worn out after a long career which could be in the young Budler’s favour.
In the IBO’s latest rankings Rubillar is at number twenty and Budler is ranked at number fifty-five, so one must question their sanctioning of this bout for a vacant title.
On the undercard in the opening bout of the evening lightweight Danile Botman faces the talented Kgotla Baeti over eight rounds.
Former Commonwealth bantamweight champion Tshifhiwa Munyai (18-1-1, 9 KOs) defends his WBA Intercontinental bantamweight title against the rugged Daniel Ferreras (8-4-1, 3 KOs) from the Philippines.
The exciting young prospect Jason Bedeman (10-0-2, 8 KOs) meets the experienced Bilal Mohammad from Ghana (14-3, 11 KOs) in a lightweight 12-rounder for the vacant WBA Pan African lightweight title.
Another exciting young fighter Thomas Oosthuizen (9-0, 7 KOs) defends his WBA Pan African super middleweight title against the Ghanaian Thomas Awinbono (7-3-1, 4).
In a heavyweight clash scheduled for four rounds Stephen Castle meets Florante Simba.