By Carlos Costa
Former IBF world champ Florante Condes, aka "The Little Pacquiao" of Looc, Romblon comes back to the ring with the tough mission to challenge champion Hekkie Budler for the IBO minimumweight world title on September 22 at the Emperor's Palace in Kempton Park, Gauteng, South Africa, confirmed today international matchmaker Brico Santig of Highland Boxing.
"After months away from boxing, Condes will fight for the IBO world title in South Africa. It's not easy fight, but it's also a great chance for Condes to become a world champion again. So he has been training hard at the Highland Gym in La Trinidad, Benguet, with trainer former Filipino champ Alan Alegria," said Santig to Philboxing.
In preparation for his coming big battle, Condes has already completed a month of rigorous training, which has included effective sparring sessions with stablemates Alvin Bais, Mateo Handig, Roilo Golez, Jay Estremos and Rey Megrino.
In his last fight in June of last year in Bangkok, Florante Condes lost a 12-round unanimous decision to undefeated thai Wanheng Menayothin (23-0, 7KO's).
Then, a minor accident while playing basketball kept "The Little Pacquiao" out of the ring for nearly a year.
"But now everything is OK, the long rest was good for Condes and his daily sparring sessions are really getting him in top shape," shared Santig whose boxing promotions company is based in La Trinidad.
Despite the inactivity, Santig and trainer Alegria are confident that the veteran 32-year-old Florante Condes has the experience, will and boxing talent required to grab the championship belt from the fresher South African world champ Hekkie Budler, eight years younger than Condes, who will be making the first defense of his world title.
Hekkie Budler (20-1, 6KO's) won the vacant IBO minimumweight (105 lbs) belt in a 12-round unanimous decision victory over Filipino Michael Landero in September of last year in Kempton Park, South Africa.
Prior to that success, Budler was the IBO light flyweight (108 lbs) world champ, a vacant title that he won from filipino Juanito Rubillar in February of 2010.
Florante Condes (25-6-1, 21KO's), will be assisted in his IBO title fight against Budler by cornermen Apolinar Valencia and Brico Santig.
The trio will travel to South Africa on September 15.