By Carlos Costa
The long reigning WBC Asian 105-pound champ Pigmy Kokietgym (52-6-2, 22 KO's) of Thailand is set to depart tomorrow (June 17) for the most important battle of his life: his clash against South African WBA/IBO World Champion Hekkie Budler (25-1, 8 KO's) this Saturday (June 21) at the Casino de Monte Carlo Salle Medecin in the Principality of Monaco.
The third man in Monaco will be American referee Raul Caiz Jr. of California with ringside Judges Pawel Kardyni of Poland, Juan Manuel Garcia Reyes of Spain and Ferlin Marsh of New Zealand.
In preparation for this double-title fight, the experienced 105-pounder Pigmy Kokietgym has completed a full-schedule of sparring rounds with his super bantamweight stable mate Sod Kokietgym (63-2-1, 28 KO's). Sod is also in training for his fight against unbeaten Cuban world champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (13-0, 8 KO's) next month in Macau.
The full training and physical conditioning have taken place at the Kokiet Gym training facility in Thailand, succeeding in getting Pigmy's weight under control, and strength and speed at their best, according to the Thai's camp.
Indeed, stakes are high for the world-ranked come-forward challenger Pigmy Kokietgym whose last outing was an easy 6-rounder unanimous decision win over unheralded Filipino Jimmy Masangkay last February in Kalasin, Kingdom of Thailand.
In contrast, the taller more talented WBA/IBO world champ Hekkie Budler, 26, comes from pulverizing in less than 3 minutes Colombian challenger Karluis Diaz (25-5, 14 KO's) last March in Kempton Park, South Africa.
On paper, the more refined fighting skills of Hekkie Budler should be enough for the aggressive 32-year-old Pigmy Kokietgym, a former muay thai combatant... though in boxing we never know.
The card's co-main event features the competitive battle between Congolese-born French Youri Kayembre Kalenga (19-1, 13 KO's) and hard-swinging Polish Mateusz Masternak (32-1, 23 KO's) for the vacant WBA interim Cruiserweight title.