Budler to defend title in Monte Carlo

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iol spt apr25 Hekkie Independent Newspapers Hekkie Budler will defend his WBA and IBO strawweight titles against Thailand's Pigmy Kokietgym in Monte Carlo on June 21. Picture: Anna Kamolane

Johannesburg – South Africa's highest ranked boxer Hekkie Budler will defend his WBA and IBO strawweight titles against Thailand's Pigmy Kokietgym (also known as Muangchaiyaphum) on the Golden Gloves bill in Monte Carlo on June 21.

This was revealed on Friday by Golden Gloves promoter Rodney Berman about the boxer who has been confirmed by Ring magazine as their number one strawweight in the world – the only South African rated this highly by the authoritative magazine.

The 32 year-old Kokietgym is a veteran of 60 fights, with 52

wins, six defeats and two draws. He is rated fifth by the WBC and eighth by the WBA and is described by Berman as “a creditable opponent for Budler and one who should not be underrated.”

Budler, who has won 25 of his 26 fight, with only one defeat, earlier this year added the WBA title to his less-recognised IBO belt when he beat Karluis Diaz at Emperors Palace and hopes remain that he will take on one of the WBC, IBF or WBO champions in a unification bout.

Also on the programme at Monte Carlo in June will be South African-based, DRC cruiserweight Junior Makabu who meet's Poland's Mateusz Masternak in a bout between two fighters who are widely rated among the top 10 in the world in their division.

“Makabu has become a big drawcard in Monte Carlo after two stunning victories in Monaco, said Berman.

“He has climbed to the ranking of number two challenger for the WBA title. But, in Masternak, he is coming up against probably the toughest fight of his career.”

Highly-rated British middleweight Martin Murray, who stopped Ishmael Tetteh in the seventh round while making his South African debut at Emperors Palace earlier in the week, will face Ukraine's Max Bursak in the third of the three topline fights scheduled for Monte Carlo.

“Murray showed his class at Emperors Palace and a win over Bursak will put him in line for a major title fight - possibly at Monte Carlo later in the year.”

Meanwhile, apart from Budler, other South Africans ranked by Ring among the top 10 fighters in their respective divisions are WBA featherweight champion Simpiwe Vetyeka (fourth), IBO junior bantamweight champion Zolani Tete (fifth), IBO flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane (sixth), IBO super middleweight champion Thomas Oosthuizen (sixth), junior featherweight Jeffrey Mathebula (eighth) and cruiserweight Thabiso Mchunu (10th).

Ring also has Makabu as the sixth-ranked cruiserweight and Isaac Chilemba, the Malawian who was based in South Africa for much of his career, as the ninth-ranked light-heavyweight. – Sapa


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