By Mesuli Zifo
Newly-anointed WBA minimumweight champion Hekkie Budler will have to risk his new belt as early as February 15 when he will feature on a Golden Gloves Promotion (GGP) tournament scheduled to be held at Emperors Palace, Kempton Park in South Africa.
Budler is basking on the glory of his upgrading as the full WBA champion following the granting of his request by the Panama-based world body in the wake of Ryo Miyazaki's abdication of the title to move up to the junior flyweight.
Having acquired an interim crown following his four rounds destruction of over-matched Argentinian Hugo Verchelli last November, Budler's elevation has now made him the second WBA champion from South African with Simpiwe Vetyeka being the other after his six rounds victory of Indonesian legend Chris John for the featherweight version this past December.
While GGP was waiting for the response of the WBA regarding the elevation of Budler to a full champion status, the diminutive fighter who also holds the IBO crown was slotted into the February 15 event following the withdrawal of the IBO junior featherweight title defence by Thabo Sonjica to Tshifhiwa Munyai.
Sonjica turned down the fight after his demands for a better purse were shot down by GGP boss Rodney Berman.
Berman hastily secured Budler to defend his IBO title on the card but then the news of his upgrade as the full champion came, forcing for a change of an opponent.
“We are still searching for an opponent for Hekkie and this opponent has to be approved by the WBA as he will be defending his new title as well as the IBO,” Berman says.
Berman is however confident that the new foe will be secured before the press conference next Tuesday officially announcing the fight.
The 25-year-old Budler( 24-1, 7 Kos) has defended his IBO title four times with the biggest win being the one he obtained over Nkosinathi Joyi in June last year.