Cape Town - Five South Africans, including nuggety No 1
strawweight Hekkie Budler are included in Ring magazine's latest Top 10 world rankings - widely considered the most authorative and respected of
the many bandied about in boxing.
Apart from Budler, who also holds WBA and IBO titles, the
other South Africans singled out by Ring are Zolani Tete, fourth-ranked in the
junior bantamweight division; Simpiwe Vetyeka (featherweight) and Moruti
Mthalane (flyweight) at both sixth in their respective divisions and Tommy
Oosthuizen the 10th light-heavyweight in spite of coming into the ring
over-weight in his last bout and consequently surrendering his IBO title.
included, however, is Eastern Cape fighter Simphiwe Khonco who challenges Budler
for his WBA and IBO titles at Emperors Palace on the outskirts of OR Tambo
Airport on Saturday, September 19.
Despite the impressive statistic not having lost a
fight in six years in an eight-year career that boasts 15 wins and four
defeats, Khonco, nicknamed "Chain Reaction", remains something of an
Apart from his first bout, a four-rounder in Mmabatho in
2007, Khonco has not fought out of his Eastern Cape fortress, with none of his
various opponents being widely acclaimed
and the split-decision verdict in one of his most recent fights was of a highly
Khonco, therefore, rates as something of an unknown
quantity against the gritty,
never-say-die Budler, who has lost only once in 29 outings - with "Chain Reaction" out to prove that his
winning streak is just that.
No South African has been included in many decades among
Ring's top 10 world pound-for-pound fighters, which are currently headed by
Floyd Mayweather, with Budler, perhaps, closest to breaking the elusive barrier if he can hold onto the WBA
crown and go on to unite the strawweight divisions with further titles in the
WBC, IBF and WBO divisions.
Meanwhile, the inclusion by the five South Africans in
Ring's various weight division rankings, can be considered a feather in their
caps in itself.