Tokyo, Japan - Hekkie Budler (32-3, 10 KOs) survived a late rally to once again become a world champion, as he captured the WBA, IBF junior flyweight world titles with a razor close twelve round unanimous decision over Ryoichi Taguchi (27-3-2, 12 KOs)
All three of the official judges saw it 114-113 for Budler, who previously held the WBA, IBO world titles at 105-pounds.
Budler was coming off a twelve round split decision loss to IBF champion Milan Melindo, who lost that belt to Taguchi in December.
Taguchi, who was making his eighth defense of the WBA belt and his first defense of the IBF title, was outworked for most of the first half half of the contest.
But the Japanese fighter really came on in the second half, including his ability to score a knockdown in the twelfth and final round.
But it wasn't enough, as Budler had already banked enough rounds to walk away with the belts.
IN OTHER NEWS: Mike Plania got back on winning track via an emphatic first-round knockout win over Johnrey Lauza in the main event of the “Magic Show” fight card last Saturday night at the Polomolok Gym in South Cotabato.
The swift victory allowed Plania to somehow ease the pain of his failed US debut when he lost to Juan Carlos Payano via unanimous decision last March 23 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood.
“I’m happy to be back in the winning column. The loss to Payano only made me a better fighter,” said Plania, who improved to 15W-1L-0D, 8 KOs.
With the win over Lauza, Plania is now more upbeat in his desire to achieve his ultimate goal.
“I will be a champion,” he said.
Sanman Promotions CEO Jim Claude Manangquil said the victory was a huge confidence booster for Plania.
“It was a good tune-up fight for Plania to get his confidence back. Up next for him will be a regional title or a fight in the US,” Manangquil said.