Budler a dark horse for ti­tle

Melindo’s tag not earned in ring

Sowetan - - Sport - By Bongani Ma­gasela

Four-time world box­ing cham­pion Hekkie “Hex­e­cu­tioner” Budler is given lit­tle chance by book­mak­ers of win­ning the IBF ju­nior fly­weight ti­tle from Mi­lan “The Method Man” Melindo of the Philip­pines in that coun­try on Satur­day.

It is un­clear what makes the cham­pion such a hot favourite to win the duel in Cebu City.

They are evenly matched, based on their fight records.

Melindo has 36 wins and 13 knock­outs, against two losses, while Budler has 31 vic­to­ries, 10 by short route, and two losses. They are both 29 years old.

Budler should ac­tu­ally have the up­per hand based on his proven big-fight tem­per­a­ment. The for­mer IBO, WBA and WBA Su­per mini fly­weight and cur­rent IBO ju­nior fly­weight cham­pion has been in­volved in 16 world ti­tle fights and won 14 of them. Budler has also fought qual­ity op­po­nents.

But for strange rea­sons, the whirl­wind per­former whose fruit­ful ca­reer is guided by suc­cess­ful trainer Colin Nathan, is a dark horse.

Melindo, who failed to win the IBF ju­nior light­weight ti­tle from Javier Men­doza in 2015 be­fore fi­nally win­ning it last De­cem­ber, is yet to meet tough op­po­si­tion.

What could work in his favour is home ad­van­tage.

Nathan and Budler have been in the Philip­pines since Mon­day. The trainer warned yes­ter­day that South Africans must pre­pare them­selves for an up­set.

“That is what we came here for,” said Nathan from the cap­i­tal Manila. “We’ve come here to win, noth­ing more and noth­ing less.”

Budler is a good trav­eller, hav­ing won his bout in the US and two oth­ers in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

The fight will be tele­vised live by Su­perS­port9 at around 1pm on Satur­day.


Hekkie Budler punches Joey Canoy from the Philip­pines dur­ing their fight for the va­cant IBO light fly­weight ti­tle at Em­per­ors Palace in Ekurhu­leni in Fe­bru­ary. He faces an­other Filipino, Mi­lan Melindo, on Satur­day.

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