Budler tops 'Danger Zone' bill
Hekkie Budler (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - The "Danger Zone" tournament, a Golden Gloves promotion set for Emperors Palace on February 16, would seem to pose little danger for South Africa's Hekkie Budler in his IBO strawweight title defence against the Philippines' Renan Trongco.
With the proposed WBC "World Cup" of boxing still in an embryo stage and the upcoming launch of the inter-continental event with recent Super Eight cruiserweight series winner Thabiso Mchunu held over, the tearaway Budler's defence has been elevated to top the "Danger Zone" bill.
This was announced at Emperors Palace on Thursday by Golden Gloves spokesperson Brian Mitchell.
Once again the IBO has curiously sanctioned a title fight to feature a boxer who is only modestly ranked by the organisation itself, with Trongco not only the 27th-listed challenger in the division, but also only the number five strawweight in the Philippines.
In the circumstances, it would seem the contest might be no more than a stepping stone for Budler, who is seeking more prestigious titles and recognition and was bubbling with enthusiasm at Thursday's announcement.
"But I won't be taking Trongco lightly," said the IBO champion, who boasts only one defeat in more than 20 bouts.
"The Philippines have a great record for producing top-class boxers and we've seen some of them being under-rated in the past, but producing the goods at the cost of their opponents. It's not a mistake I intend to make."
Also on the "Danger Zone" bill, new sensation Ryno Liebernberg will face Flash Issaka of Ghana in a bout for the IBO's all-Africa light-heavyweight title that is designed to pit two flashy fighters against each other.
Like Budler, Liebenberg is being groomed for bigger things and cannot afford to slip up against the Ghanaian champion.
"Every time I go into the ring, it's the most important fight of my career, and this one is no exception," Liebenberg said.
Opening the programme is an international lightweight contest between South Africa's Thompson Mokwana and Matias Gomez of Argentina.
South African Ilunga Makabu fights Georgia's Gogito Gorgiladze for the IBF cruiserweight youth title, and in an international catchweight bout, the promising Kevin Lerena is matched against Javier Corrales of Paraguay.