On Saturday the 4th of February 2017, South African Hekkie Budler will step into the ring with Joey Canoy from the Philipines in a twelve-round fight for the IBO World Title. Hekkie, who has made it well known that he wants to become the number one junior-flyweight in the world, seems well on his way to secure a victory with three world titles already under his belt. Perkolate spoke to Hekkie about his career thus far and talk about his upcoming fight.
How did you first get into boxing?
Hekkie Budler: Not a lot of people actually know this, but the real reason I started boxing was because I hated losing as a child. I couldn't play soccer or rugby or cricket or any type of team sport because if the team lost, I blamed the other players. I never played board games because if I lost I'd throw it to pieces.
Then someone told my parents to let me try doing a sport where if I lost, I couldn't blame anybody but myself. My dad used to do boxing and suggested I do the same, and that's how I actually got into it. I loved boxing from the start. As an amateur I had a hundred and fifty fights with me winning hundred and fourty of them and losing only ten. I was the youngest ever senior South African champion, I was also in the national team and turned professional in 2007 before the Olympic trials.
“...I loved boxing from the start...” - Hekkie Budler
You went through a rough patch last year after the loss to Byron Rojas but have since then turned things around after addressing a few things, how did you deal with that?
Hekkie Budler: Mentally I was broken after the loss, I was completely broken but with my trainer Colin and my wife and family behind them, they got me fixed up and sorted me out. I just had to re-focus and get my mind around that I had a problem and fixed it and now I am better.
How did next month's fight against Joey Canoy come about?
Hekkie Budler: I have a promoter at Golden Gloves, Rodney Berman, they sit with Colin my trainer and my manager and then they look at who I must fight and who they want me to fight and where they think I should go. They plan it for me, I just sign the contract, do the training and fight. They do all those things like organising a fight and deciding who and when, I just always need to stay fit.
Strategically, how does fight fit in the great scheme of things? A victory for you means the world title?
Hekkie Budler: Yes, I am fighting for the IBO World Title. If I beat him I'd like to go for the big four, either the IBF, WBO, WBC or WBA. To that extent, this fight is the path to get to the big four titles.
Joey Canoy himself, you've stated before that you don't know much about him. Does that affect your training?
Hekkie Budler: The only thing I know about him is that he is a southpaw. When you start your career, you don't get fights where you know who you fight against, you just fight and prepare in anyway you can.
And that is what I am doing with this fight, I am preparing, I am covering all the bases. We've got sparring partners, guys that move, guys that come forward, all different types of work we can do. We're covering all the bases, we have to.