By Ron Jackson
It has been reported that South Africa’s Hekkie Budler who is rated as the #1 junior flyweight by the WBC and Elwin Soto from Mexico who is listed at #3, will meet on 25 June at the Palenque del FEX in Soto’s hometown of Mexicali, Mexico, in a WBC world junior flyweight title eliminator.
Both Budler and Soto have held world championship belts at junior flyweight with the 25-year-old Soto (19-2, 13 KOs) having had his last fight on 16 October last year, when he lost the WBO light flyweight belt to Puerto Rican Jonathan Gonzalez (24-3-1) on a split decision.
Budler (33-4, 10 KOs) who will celebrate his 34th birthday on 18 May is the most decorated South African fighter, having won the IBO All-Africa, IBO junior flyweight and IBO strawweight belts, WBA interim minimumweight, WBA minimumweight, WBA “super” minimumweight, WBA Pan African junior flyweight, IBO light flyweight and WBC silver light flyweight belts.
He has also been awarded The Ring championship belt and is the only the second South African to have been honoured with this belt, with Vic Toweel South Africa’s only universal world champion receiving the belt in 1950.
Before his loss to Gonzalez, Soto, 25, had made three successful defences of the WBO belt that he won in 2019 against Angel Acosta.
His only other defeat came in in his third professional fight five years ago.
Budler’s win against Filipino Jonathon Alamacen for the vacant WBC silver light flyweight title on 22 May at the Booysens Hall in Johannesburg last year, was his first fight in 17 months.
All the odds are stacked against Budler with inactivity, age and fighting in Soto’s home country.
However, even though the odds are against him this gutsy little fighter will give it his all in what could be his last fight at world level.
The main organisation junior flyweight champions are WBA “super” Hiroto Kyoguchi, WBA “secondary” Esteban Bermudez, IBF Felix Alvarado, WBC Kenshiro Teraji and WBO Jonathan Gonzalez.