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Boxing | South Africa

Hekkie Budler © Gallo Images

Hekkie beats gutsy Trongco

Hekkie Budler retained his IBO strawweight title when he beat Renan Trongco on points at Emperors Palace near Kempton Park on Saturday night.

The South African won 117-111 on two cards and 118-110 on the third but his opponent from the Philippines contributed much to an excellent, highly entertaining bout.

The 24-year-old Budler, his hair dyed purple, pink and yellowish, showed off a collection of tattoos as well as blistering hand speed as the aggressive little southpaw Filipino demanded respect.

Trongco slipped some sharp lefts through Budler’s defence in the early rounds, refusing to back off when the champion launched his trade-mark double-barrelled attacks.

He showed defiance when Budler nailed him with several solid shots in the sixth round but there were signs that he was slowing down. However, he came straight back in the seventh to put Budler under pressure.

The champion, never pretending to be a knock-out artist, used his counter-punching talents to score the points that put him out of reach by the end of the eighth round. His ability to maintain concentration was also an important asset, especially when Trongco went looking for the pay-off punch in the final round.

Budler finished the bout in style and had Trongco in trouble in the last 20 seconds or so. But the challenger deserved praise for an commendable performance after shedding 4 kg to made the weight limit.

Budler, who improved his record to 23 wins, including six knockouts, and one defeat, had won the IBO belt in September 2011 when he beat Michael Landero from the Philippines on points. The title was vacant at the time.

Trongco, 24 years old, dropped to 12-4, with 8 knockouts.

The referee was Andile Matika and the judgese Tony Nyangiwe, Bruce McTavish from the Philippines and Terry O’Connor from the UK.


Ryno Liebenberg retained his IBO All-Africa light-heavyweight title when he stopped Flash Issaka from Ghana in the fourth round.

Making his second defence, the well-conditioned Liebenberg took no chances after being cut on the top of his head. He went into overdrive and ended the 12-rounder after 2 minutes 32 seconds of the fourth, enhancing his reputation as an exciting prospect and a crowd pleaser.

Issaka, taller than his opponent and big-shouldered, looked menacing going forward but not too flash on the back foot. He also showed few signs of aggression and went down in delayed action from a left hook in the third round.

When referee Tony Nyangiwe took an interest in the cut on Liebenberg’s scalp early in the fourth, the South African promptly went in for the kill. Issaka went down, once again well after stopping a solid left.

Liebenberg gave him no time to recover and the Ghanaian, having lost his enthusiasm, tumbled through the ropes after another attack, falling on the ringside doctor.

Issaka appeared to be hurt in the fall – the doctor also needed attention afterwards – and failed to get back into the ring.

Liebenberg’s record improved to 11-0, with 7 knockouts. Issaka’s dropped to 20-13; 15.


Ilunga Makabu from the Democratic Republic of Congo had no trouble in his fight against Georgia’s Gogita Gorgiladze and won the vacant IBF youth cruiserweight title.

The ill-conditioned visitor played the role of a punch bag – and played it well – as Makabu rearranged his facial features, to stop him 1 minute 49 seconds into the fourth round.

Makabu, a southpaw known as Junior, now fights out of Johannesburg and is trained by Harold Vollbrecht. His record improved to 12-1, with each of his wins coming by knockout. Gorgiladze dropped to 12-2; 9.

Paul Kamanga from the Democratic Republic of Congo looked a much more accomplished fighter that one would have expected from a three-fight rookie as he outclassed Zan Jonker in a junior welterweight bout over six rounds.

Jonker, unbeaten after eight professional bouts, suffered his first defeat as Kamanga won 59-55 on two cards and 60-54 on the third.

Lightweight Thompson Mokwana dealt Argentina’s Matias Gomez his first defeat in the 29th fight of his career. The promising South African had the edge in power and hand speed and won the eight-round bout 78-74 on each of the official cards.

The cruiserweight bout between Kevin Lerena and a rather flabby Javier Corrales of Paraguay was pure Guy Fawkes; fireworks from start to finish.

Lerena, an aggressive southpaw, had to work hard for his points victory over six rounds – 59-55 on each of the cards. He stuck to his task and gained valuable ring time.

Corrales, who had reportedly dropped 7 kg in three days before the bout, showed some useful skills and a commendable appetite for slugging it out against the ”KO Kid” who missed out on a knockout this time.


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