by Ronnie Nathanielsz
Filipino challenger Renan Trongco and IBO strawweight champion Hekkie Buddler have met face-to-face for the first time in South Africa and had a chance to size each other up prior to their title showdown on Saturday.
Budler who has a record of 21-1 with 6 knockouts had previously scored controversial and close wins over veteran Juanito Rubillar won the vacant title with an impressive twelve round unanimous decision over former Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation champion Michael Landero on September 24, 2011.
In his last defense Budler scored a unanimous twelve round decision over former IBF minimum weight champion Florante Condes on September 22, 2012.
South African boxing writer Nick Gordon quoted Budler who was overweight by some four pounds while Trongco was over the limit by eight pounds as saying “The only thing I’m worried about now is Saturday night, that’s when it counts and that’s what I’m looking forward to.”
Budler who will be making the second defense of his title maintained that despite Trongco’s low IBO ranking “Its going to be a good fight. He’s a strong, very tight southpaw. A hard punching fighter and he comes to fight and comes to win.”
Trongco who is a southpaw and moves very much like boxing hero Manny Pacquiao and has a deadly left straight, also like Pacquiao, was reminded by Budler that the fight venue of the Emperors Palace in Kempton Park “is my backyard. I’m the Emperor’s kid. I’m here to win and that’s just the way its going to stay.”
Trongco who has a record of 12-3 with 8 knockouts told the Manila Standard that he doesn’t wish to be overconfident but he’s certain to get the better of Budler.
Trongco’s trainer, former world light flyweight title challenger Rexon Flores who couldn’t make the trip because his passport expires at the end of this month said he had given instructions to Trongco on what to do against Budler and would emphasize solid body shots.
Promoter Gabriel “Bebot” Elorde Jr told us it’s very hard to win a decision in South Africa and Trongco would either have to knock Budler out or drop him two or three times to win a decision.
In the absence of Flores, former OPBF champion William Develos and Rolando Angel will take over in Trongco’s corner.