Hekkie Budler showed pleasing maturity in beating Florante Condes on points at Emperors Palace, Kempton Park, on Saturday night.
The South African retained his IBO strawweight title by beating the Filipino 116-112, 118-110 and 115-113 and stretching his professional record to 21-1, with 6 knockouts. Condes dropped to 25-7-1; 21.
Making the first defence of his title, Budler saw off an enthusiastic start by Condes, who won the opening round but soon slipped behind as the champion picked his punches and made them count.
Condes, a southpaw who had never been stopped in his professional career, went down from a low blow in the eighth round but was given ample time to recover. He immediately resumed his challenge, contributing handsomely to Budler’s continuing education.
Budler, never a devastating puncher, operated well under pressure and did not waste energy as he landed enough crisp blows to impress the judges.
He kept his cool, unlike in some of his previous bouts, as Condes refused to back off. Budler’s right, fired straight from the shoulder, earned him a bucket of points and he also impressed with the combinations he threw from close in.
The now 32-year- old Condes won the IBF minimumweight title in July 2007 and lost it to Raul Garcia on a split decision 11 months later.
In June 2009 he lost on points to South African Nkosinathi Joyi when he challenged for the IBF minimumweight belt in East London.
The card was presented by Rodney Berman of Golden Gloves Promotions.