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Hekkie Budler to face ‘tough’ Filipino Joey Canoy in South Africa

Hekkie Budler - Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Former WBA strawweight titleholder Hekkie Budler will continue his campaign three pounds north when he faces Filipino banger Joey Canoy at Emperors Palace in Gauteng, South Africa on Feb. 4.

The fight will be the second for Budler (30-2, 9 knockouts) since his upset decision loss to Byron Rojas last March, while Canoy (12-2-1, 6 KOs) is coming off two straight wins – the most recent being a stoppage of unbeaten Toto Landero – since a knockout loss to world-rated compatriot Jessie Espinas.

“I don’t know much (about Canoy), haven’t seen any of his fights but I am expecting a very hard fight and I think he is a good puncher so I’m gonna have to be at my best,” said Budler, 28, who is rated No. 7 at junior flyweight by THE RING.

Budler’s trainer Colin Nathan describes Canoy as a “tough, strong kid and an aggressive southpaw who will bring it.”

(RELATED: Hekkie Budler: A ‘very good’ champion who dares to be great)

Budler admits that he needed to reflect on the loss to Rojas, which knocked him from his perch as the top-rated fighter at strawweight. He says he’s been in camp for about three months heading into this fight.

“Damn, I just had to look at myself and sort out what was wrong and I did it,” Budler says. “Took a long time but I fixed the problem and I have great support at home and my wife was with me every step, so she helped me deal with it.”

Budler says the move up to the division in which he had fought from his first fight in 2007 until a split decision loss to Gideon Buthelezi in 2011 hasn’t had a significant impact on him but hopes it brings increased punching power.

“People say I look healthier,” said Budler.

When asked whom among the top fighters in the division he’d want to face, Budler said none of the names jumped out.

“I actually don’t know any of the champions. It’s hard to choose one guy,” said Budler.

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