‘Hex­e­cu­tioner’ ready to rum­ble

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­press.co.za South Africa’s box­ing idol, Hekkie Budler, be­lieves he will be in the best con­di­tion of his ca­reer when he de­fends his WBA and IBO strawweight ti­tles at Monte Carlo Casino on Oc­to­ber 25.

Budler will be slug­ging it out against Chi­nese op­po­nent Xiong Zhao Zhong in what is likely to be a tough en­counter.

But it is Budler who is tak­ing pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures ahead of what he be­lieves will be the tough­est bout of his ca­reer.

Why? He will be fly­ing the South African flag high on the night in a must-win bout against the man who pre­vi­ously held the WBC di­a­dem.

The 26-year-old Budler, who hails from New­lands, western Joburg, went through his paces dur­ing a gru­elling train­ing ses­sion at Hot Box Gym in Glen­hazel, Joburg.

The way in which the champ, nick­named “Hex­e­cu­tioner”, con­nected those sting­ing left hooks on the punch bag and went through spar­ring un­der the watchful eye of his trainer Collin Nathan, proved the fighter is on a mis­sion to put his Chi­nese op­po­nent to sleep in early round.

“The fight against Zhong will be a make-or-break one for me be­cause my op­po­nent will be out to cause an up­set,” said Budler dur­ing in­ter­vals at his work-out rou­tine.

“I haven’t stopped com­ing to the gym ever since the fight was of­fi­cially an­nounced last month. My work rate has im­proved. I have also been con­nect­ing the jabs and hooks on the punch­ing bag ac­cu­rately. I can’t wait for the fight.”

Budler, who pre­dicts a knock­out win, be­lieves vic­tory will be a nice present as he will be ty­ing the knot to his girl­friend Roxy Palm on Novem­ber 1.

“We’ve been see­ing each other for four years and she’s been very sup­port­ive of my ca­reer.

“We there­fore de­cided to get mar­ried a week after my fight and hope­fully I would have won by the time we cel­e­brate our union,” said Budler.

He lost once in 2011 – to Gideon Buthelezi for the IBO ju­nior fly­weight ti­tle – in a ca­reer span­ning 27 fights.

He won the then va­cant IBO crown the same year after beat­ing Filipino Michael Lan­dero on points. Last Novem­ber, he stopped Ar­gen­tinian Hugo Her­nan Verchelli on a fourth-round tech­ni­cal knock­out for the IBO and WBA crowns.

Budler will make his sec­ond trip to Monaco this year after he beat Thai chal­lenger Pigmy Kok­i­et­gym on an eighth-round knock­out in his last bout in June. Zhong has com­piled a record of 24 wins, five de­feats and one draw in 30 paid fights.

See www.city­press.co.za for a gallery of Budler’s gym ses­sion

PHOTO: TREVOR KUNENE

CHAMP Hekkie Budler dur­ing a train­ing ses­sion at Hot Box Gym this week in prepa­ra­tion for his ti­tle de­fence in Monte Carlo

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