Hekkie Budler to face Enrique Magsalin in stay-busy fight, Saturday
Hekkie Budler may now have a different opponent but his goal remains the same.
Budler, who is ranked No. 2 by The Ring at 108 pounds, will now face Enrique Magsalin, of the Philippines, Saturday night, 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 was scheduled to face Kitidech Hirunsuk but the fighter from Thailand backed out of the fight due to undisclosed reasons. A handful of fighters were approached until Magsalin accepted the fight and flew into Johannesburg earlier this week.
A lot is riding on the line in what looks like a stay-busy fight for Budler (34-4, 10 knockouts), who is scheduled to face The Ring Magazine junior flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji this summer. Teraji’s WBA and WBC unified titles will also be on the line.
Colin Nathan, who trains and manages Budler, was relieved an opponent was finalized and is now dialed in for Saturday night.
“We struggled to get a suitable opponent and when I mean suitable, I mean there is a lot riding on this contest,” Nathan told The Ring, Thursday morning. “It’s a must-win situation. This is a catchweight fight of 109 pounds. Hekkie has to win this fight and do so impressively. And then we’re all set for August against Teraji in Japan.
“First things first, the assignment is to win [against Magsalin]. It’s a big moment for South African boxing. [Hekkie] is one of the greatest fighters in the history of South Africa. It’s almost like a homecoming for Hekkie. It’s important that he wins and he wins impressively.”
In his most recent 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 made the difference in the fight. Soto is a former WBO junior flyweight titleholder.
Budler has won his two most recent bouts since losing by stoppage to Hiroto Kyoguchi in December 2018. Other losses for Budler were to Byron Rojas by unanimous decision in March 2016 and by split decision to Milan Melindo in September 2017.
Magsalin (8-4-2, 1 KO), who resides in Metro Manila, defeated Jeffrey Concerman by unanimous decision in his most recent bout on March 30. In September 2019, Magsalin avenged a majority decision loss to Ronnie Baldonado, which occurred in October 2018.
The 27-year-old has lost four of his last seven bouts.
Also on the Boxing 5 Promotions card, former IBF 105-pound titlist Deejay Kriel 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 most recent bout on December 9.
Kriel challenged then-IBF junior flyweight titleholder Felix Alvarado, in January 2021, giving a solid account of himself before losing by stoppage. Kriel was dropped twice during the fight.
Kumar (12-1-1, 8 KOs) most recently 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 stoppage loss to Chenghui Yuan in April 2019.
Also fighting on the card are junior lightweight prospect Caden Truter (6-0, 5 KOs) and female 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] and you can follow him on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing.