by Ronnie Nathanielsz
Aware of the huge odds against earning a decision in South Africa against a hometown fighter the P hilippines hard-hitting Renan Trongco (12-3, 8 KO’s) will go for a knockout when he faces IBO straw-weight champion Hekkie Budler of South Africa (21-1, 6 KO’s) at the Emperors Palace in South Africa on February 16.
Trongco who will take a long and grueling fight to South Africa via Dubai instead of the shorter route via Hong Kong with the South African promoter claiming flights were all booked, the southpaw who leaves with trainer and former OPBF champion William Develos and Rolando Angel on Saturday told the Manila Standard that he has been training since December 10 and is in good shape.
Trongco said he had seen tapes of some of Budler’s previous fights and studied them well and although he didn’t wish to be overconfident told us “I can easily handle him.”
The fighter who is surprisingly ranked No. 27 by the IBO said he is grateful to promoter Gabriel “Bebot” Elorde for helping him get a world title shot and said his left straight was his big punch.
When we shot Trongco training at the Bebot Elorde Gym in Sta. Rita Village in Sucat, Paranaque and told him we noticed that he mover very much like Manny Pacquiao, the 24 year old smiled and confessed that “Manny is my idol.”
He appealed to his countrymen to pray for his success as he vowed to do his best to bring a world title back to the Philippines.
Despite South African media reports that they expect Budler to win easily and that the title defense is likely to be a mere stepping stone for Budler who is seeking more prestigious titles and recognition, the champion himself said he is not underestimating Trongco or taking him lightly.
Budler who said he is “fit and firing” and looking forward to making a solid statement against the Filipino challenger noted that the Philippines has a great record for producing top class boxers and we’ve seen some of them being under-rated in the past but producing the goods at the cost of their opponents. Its not a mistake I intend to make.”