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Budler and Joyi square off

2013-06-14 19:00
Hekkie Budler (Gallo Images)

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Johannesburg - There were no weight problems for Hekkie Budler and Nkosinathi Joyi on Friday as they squared up for their eagerly-awaited IBO strawweight title fight at Emperors Palace on Saturday night.

At a relatively sombre and uneventful official weigh-in at Emperors Palace, defending champion Budler and Joyi comfortably made the 47,7kg strawweight limit, with both fighters claiming to "do their talking in the ring."

The same applied in the case of defending IBO champion Gideon Buthelezi and Filipino challenger Edrin Dapudong, who were both within the 52,2kg junior bantamweight limit at the first attempt.

With a unification fight on the cards for the winner of what has been termed the "Final Reckoning" showdown between Joyi and Budler, and so much hype surrounding one of the most talked about fights between two South African boxers in years, it was not surprising Budler and Joyi demonstrated a degree of tension over the outcome.

Joyi's manager-trainer, Sipatho Handi, said he had no doubt about the outcome and proclaimed the issue was effectively "sealed and signed".

"This is the wrong fight at the wrong time for Budler," said Handi.

"We won't under-estimate him because of his courage and grit, but he is simply not in the same class and without the punching power of Nkosinathi. There is only one way this fight can go."

Handi dismissed the claim that Budler would have an advantage at Emperors Palace, where most of his fights had taken place.

"Nkosinathi is in the same mould as soccer giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and can boast a massive following wherever he goes in the country," added Joyi's manager, while revealing his fighter had set up a training camp in Hillbrow and had been inundated with support.

Budler's trainer, Colin Nathan, responded with the comment: "Talk is cheap.

"Hekkie is in the best shape of his career. This is a fight he has dreamt about for years and is doing everything possible to provide the best performance of his career."

Joyi, who for years before surrendering his IBF title last year in a shock defeat against Mexico's Mario Rodriguez, was considered South Africa's number one pound-for-pound fighter.

He was at one point ranked a lofty number one strawweight boxer in the world by the respected Ring Magazine and currently occupies third place as against Budler's seventh position in Ring's rankings.

"Nkosinathi Joyi was my hero," Budler admitted recently, "and I expect to go into the ring as the under-dog.

"But I will do my damn best - and I truly believe that with all the effort I have put into training for this fight, I can beat him as well."

Between them, Joyi and Budler have fought 45 times, with each suffering a solitary single defeat.

Heading the undercard on Saturday is another intriguing and even more controversial match-up between South Africa's IBO junior bantamweight champion, Buthelezi and Dapudong.

Many of Buthelezi's most patriotic supporters conceded the South African was more than a little fortunate to have received the points verdict when he fought Dapudong for the IBO title at Emperors Palace last year.

The IBO called for a rematch and Buthelezi will now have the chance to show he is indeed a worthy champion and has the measure of the crafty Filipino.

Final Reckoning bill: Starting at 7.30pm

Bout 1: IBO junior bantamweight title - 12 rounds: Edrin Dapudong v Gideon Buthelezi

Bout 2: Junior flyweight - 6 rounds: Lerato Kgola v Thabang Ramagale

Bout 3: IBO inter-continental light heavyweight title: Johnny Muller v Rayno Liebenberg

Bout 4: Junior welterweight - eight rounds: Takalani Dandala v Paul Kamanga

Bout 5: IBO strawweight title - 12 rounds: Nkosinathi Joyi v Hekkie Budler

Read more on:    hekkie budler  |  johannesburg  |  boxing

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