Boxing Snippets

Saluting a champion

Hekkie Budler, seen here with trainer Colin Nathan and Rodney Berman on Tuesday.

Even now, seven years after winning his first boxing championship title, Hekkie Budler remains the humblest of champions.

Fast approaching his 16th world championship, and arguably his toughest, against IBF champion Milan Melindo in September, Budler was honoured during an impromptu slap-up lunch in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

“He’s been a magnificent ambassador and servant of boxing,” enthused promoter Rodney Berman, who invited select media to attend. “There have been a few bumps along the road, but he’s never been anything less than loyal and excellent. He’s a marvellous sportsman and a great example of the reward that comes with hard work.”

Budler is already in training for his crack – he’s 13-2 in championship bouts – and has been studying tapes of Melindo.

“They’re going to expect me to run, but they’ll be in for a surprise,” said the IBO light-flyweight champion. “I’m not going to fall over. I’m going to press the action from the first minute of the first round.”

Trainer Colin Nathan was no less enthusiastic. “We’ve called out the top fighters and Melindo has answered the call, so credit to him. But we aren’t going over as an opponent. Hekkie is a champion in his own right. We’re expecting to win.”


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