Sunday, May 28, 2023  |



Sinus issues hindered Hekkie Budler in Hiroto Kyoguchi stoppage loss

Hekkie Budler - Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Fighters Network

“Boxing is such a cruel sport,” began Colin Nathan Wednesday as he awaited his connecting flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town, South Africa. Nathan, the manager/trainer of Hekkie Budler, lamented how people in this day and age use Boxrec to get the results of fights, particularly those that take place overseas, and that the result alone doesn’t tell the story of a fight.

“They look at a record and you can never put in brackets and say he was sick or he had a cold going. It’s just ‘You lost.”

Nathan was returning from Macau, China on the other side of the planet where he went 1-for-2 with his duo of the sport’s smallest champions. On the positive side there was Moruti Mthalane, who had little difficulty dispatching Masahiro Sakamoto to retain the IBF flyweight title after ten rounds.

Right before that, Hekkie Budler suffered the first stoppage defeat of his career when Nathan, seeing that Budler had nothing left to give, shook his head and decided that enough was enough. After the tenth round both Budler and Nathan walked to the other corner to concede to Hiroto Kyoguchi, making the Japanese fighter the new Ring magazine and IBF junior flyweight champion.

Budler (32-4, 10 knockouts) had no issues making the 108-pound weight limit, but Nathan says the 30-year-old South African, who suffers from sinus issues and uses an asthma inhaler, was dealing with congestion the night before.

“His nose got pretty blocked up the night before and we tried to use Vicks VapoRub and tried to naturally remedy it but we couldn’t,” said Nathan. After five rounds Budler told Nathan he was having trouble breathing, and by the tenth Nathan knew what he needed to do.

“He couldn’t turn it around, was taking flush shots, he wasn’t healthy, his nose was blocked,” said Nathan. 

“It’s six minutes of taking more punches, there was no point.”

Budler says that while he wasn’t at peak health, he gives Kyoguchi (12-0, 9 KOs) all the credit for the victory.

“He was stronger than I expected, much stronger, he didn’t hit as hard as I thought he would hit but he was just physically strong. It just didn’t work out. He was better than me,” said Budler.

Budler, who was making the first defense of the title he won in May with a unanimous decision over Ryoichi Taguchi, said he didn’t want Nathan to stop the fight but trusted his judgment on that matter, acknowledging that he was there to protect his well-being.

“I believe in him and trust him with my life so I had to do what he said,” said Budler.

Kyoguchi, 25, of Tokyo, Japan is now a two-division champion, having reigned previously as the IBF strawweight titleholder.

Budler intends to take some time to rest and recover from the fight before deciding how to come back from the loss, but says he’ll remain in the 108-pound division.

“I’ll give him a few months off and bring him back, see where he’s at,” said Nathan. “That’s a tough loss but that’s boxing.”

Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and can be reached at [email protected].


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