Johannesburg – The late postponement of Golden Gloves' boxing bill at Emperors Palace from February 15 to March 1 will not affect tournament headliner Hekkie Budler, his trainer Colin Nathan said on Monday.
“Hekkie is ready to fight tomorrow, next week or next month,” Nathan said.
“He's always in tip-top shape and fighting two week's later will not make an iota of difference to his condition.”
Nathan said a delay in completing the maintenance at the Emperors Palace venue where strawweight champion Budler comes up against Colombian opponent Karluiz Diaz had been responsible for the postponement.
Budler is the anointed champion of the less widely recognised IBO organisation and recently successfully fought for the title of “interim” WBA champion.
His proclaimed elevation as the fully fledged WBA champion without earning the honour in the ring has been the subject of widespread controversy extending beyond the borders of Africa.
Golden Gloves promoter Rodney Berman said the WBA has confirmed the recognition of Budler as their strawweight champion after Japan's Ryo Miyazaki vacated the position and moved up to a heavier weight division.
Berman said according to WBA's rules, the interim champion automatically assumes the position of champion once the title is vacated.
Nathan said his fighter had every right to be recognised as WBA champion according to the organisation's rules and his rating as one of the top strawweight fighters in the world.
In the main supporting bout programme, the undefeated Rayno Liebenberg will defend his WBC international light-heavyweight title against Joey Vegas of Uganda.
Vegas' career record of 16 wins and six defeats is hardly inspiring, but he has fought against opponents of the calibre of Nathan Cleverly, Dean Francis and Dmytro Kucher and has staged something of a belated comeback with victories in his last five ring appearances. – Sapa