Somehow or other the fact that South Africa’s Hekkie Budler is now a two-division WBA super champion has not been acknowledged.
Budler stopped Hugo Verchelli in the fourth round five years ago to retain his IBO minimumweight belt and he also won the interim WBA minimumweight title.
Two months later, he was elevated to the full champion by the WBA.
He then went on to make five successful defences of the IBO and WBA belts before the WBA elevated him to “super” WBA minimumweight champion, in January, 2016.
After outpointing Japan’s Ryoichi Taguchi in Tokyo and claiming the WBA/IBF and Ring magazine light-flyweight titles this past May, he was elevated to a WBA “super” champion for the second time.
Budler now has the unique distinction of being the first South African to be elevated to a “super” champion and also win three belts in one night, and to a two-weight “super” champion.
In 1950 South Africa’s only universal world champion, Vic Toweel, was awarded the The Ring magazine belt and now Butler is the second to hold the belt.
The 30-year-old Budler was aged eight when he started out at the Hugenote Boxing Club in Brixton and won his first title when he was 12.
As a 14-year-old junior he captured the first of three SA titles and as senior won the light-flyweight class at the 2005 South African amateur championships.
He was included in the SA team for the 2008 Olympics but a row with the national amateur federation made him decide to join the professional ranks.
Budler soon made his mark as a professional and in April 2009 won the IBO All-Africa light-flyweight title.
He has now won more professional titles than any other South African in the history of South African boxing and has a record of 32-3 (10 KOs).
Amongst the titles he has won are the IBO junior-flyweight, IBO minimumweight, WBA interim minimumweight, WBA minimumweight, WBA “super” minimumweight, WBA Pan African junior-flyweight, IBO light-flyweight, WBA/IBF/Ring magazine light-flyweight and WBA “super” light-flyweight.
Budler, together with Zolani Tete, the WBO bantamweight champion, must be a strong contender to win the title of Boxing South Africa’s Fighter of the Year.
He next fights in Macau on December 21, against former IBF mini flyweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi.