Thursday, June 08, 2023  |


Hekkie Budler to face Kitidech Hirunsuk on May 6 in South Africa

Hekkie Budler (right) nails Ryoichi Taguchi during their hotly contested bout for The Ring Magazine, IBF and WBA junior flyweight championships. Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Fighters Network

Hekkie Budler has a fight lined up as he awaits his opportunity to face Ring Magazine junior flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji. 

Budler, who is ranked No. 3 by The Ring at 108 pounds, will face Kitidech Hirunsuk of Thailand in a stay-busy fight on May 6 at Unisa Conference Centre in his hometown of Johannesburg, South Africa. The 10-round bout will air live on SuperSport throughout South Africa. 

The 34-year-old Budler (34-4, 10 knockouts) will face Teraji later this summer for the Ring Magazine championship, along with the WBC and WBA world title belts.

In his last bout on June 25, Budler, a former titleholder at 105 and 108 pounds, traveled to Elwin Soto’s hometown of Mexicali, Mexico to win a close unanimous decision. Budler scored a knockdown of Soto, which was the difference in the fight. Soto is a former WBO world junior flyweight titleholder. 

Budler has won his last two bouts since losing by knockout to Hiroto Kyoguchi in December 2018. Other losses by Budler were to Byron Rojas in March 2016 and by split-decision to Milan Melindo in September 2017. 

Despite recent setbacks, Budler has won five of his last seven fights. Manager/ trainer Colin Nathan is confident Budler can pull off the upset win and claim the top spot in the junior flyweight division, but is not overlooking Hirunsuk.

“Hekkie goes (into) this contest as a must-win keep-busy contest,” Nathan told The Ring Wednesday night. “The bout (against Hirunsuk) will be at 109 pounds and we know what’s at stake. 

“The focus is now on May 6 and then we focus on the next task, which is Teraji.”

Hirunsuk (11-4, 6 KOs) stopped Thammarat Chumthong in the opening round of his last bout on February 1. The win was a rematch from their previous fight, which Hirunsuk won by decision. 

Prior to the two wins over Chumthong, the 20-year-old had lost four of five bouts.

Also on the Boxing 5 Promotions card, Deejay Kriel, the former IBF world titleholder at 105 pounds, will square off against Sandeep Kumar in a 10-round bout.

Kriel (17-2-1, 8 KOs), who resides in Boksburg, South Africa, defeated Thembelani Nxoshe by majority decision in his last bout on December 9. 

The former IBF world 105-pound titleholder challenged then-IBF junior flyweight titleholder Felix Alvarado in January 2021, giving him a solid account of himself before losing by knockout. Kriel was dropped twice during the fight. 

Kumar (12-1, 8 KOs) last fought on February 22, outpointing Toshihiko Era by unanimous decision. The 29-year-old, who resides in Gurgaon, India, is unbeaten in his last 12 fights since a knockout loss to Chenghui Yuan in April 2019. 

Also fighting on the card are junior lightweight prospect Caden Truter (6-0, 5 KOs) and junior welterweight Hedda Wolmarans (7-0, 4 KOs) in separate bouts.

Fringe junior bantamweight contender Sikho Nqothole (16-2, 10 KOs), who resides in Mthatha, South Africa, will also be on the card. The 28-year-old has won his last five bouts.

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]