Battle lines drawn for megafight

Hekkie Budler and Nkosinathi Joyi will prove who is SA’s best minimumweight on Saturday, Mawande Mvumvu visits their gyms

» I’m going to be on Joyi’s face – Budler

Budler would be working at a game farm saving the rhino if he was not a boxer.

Love for animals is what Budler, the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) minimumweight king, has besides boxing.

The boxer has never tasted defeat in the minimumweight division as his only blemish sih losscame as a light flyweight against Gideon Buthelezi.

“I shouldn’t have started my career as a light flyweight. I realised after the loss that I was not good enough for that division,” said Budler during an intensive training session at Colin Nathan’s Hotbox Gym in Glenhazel, Joburg.

“This is going to be the toughest, hardest and the biggest fight of my career,” said the gladiator who has sent packing all three men who have challenged for his title.

How was the man weighing 47.63kg, who is such a dominant force, introdu-ced to the most brutal of sports?

“When I did not make it in football and rugby, my dad said ‘let’s try boxing’ and I fell in love with the sport.”

He is confident Joyi’s tried-and-tested knockout power will not succeed in the megafight.

“It’s an honour for me to be fighting against him but on fight night, he will be just another opponent standing in my way to the top,” said Budler.

“I’m training super hard and I’m going to be super ready that night.”

Budler intends taking the mettle of best minimumweight in the globe from Joyi.

“I’m going to be on Joyi’s face, I’m going to put him on the back foot and see how he handles that because if I beat him, I can beat anyone in this division.

“I’m not going to lose this one.”

» Budler will run and I’ll be on his case – Joyi

I’m used to real boxers,” quipped Joyi, a man of a few words.

The former International Boxing Federation (IBF) minimumweight titleholder is brimming with confidence that the title is in the bag.

Former IBF minimumweight champion Nkosinathi Joyi hard at work during one of his training sessions. Picture: Leon Sadiki/City Press

Former IBF minimumweight champion Nkosinathi Joyi hard at work during one of his training sessions. Picture: Leon Sadiki/City Press

“Budler can say all he wants and I can say a mouthful but there will be no more talk when we step into the ring.”

During a “polish-up” training at the Bronx Gym in Hillbrow this week, he rubbished claims that he was finished following his unexpected first defeat last year.

The pride of Mdantsane promised that victory for Team Joyi was guaranteed and that it was an opportunity for redemption.

“My dream of winning the WBC (World Boxing Council) belt is driving me towards that direction,” said the former world’s best pound -for-pound boxer in his weight class.

The WBC is regarded as the best boxing body in the world.

“Many local greats could not reach that level but I will. I’m going to knock him out. Budler must know I’m used to scraps with real and tough fighters.

“He will be the one running all the time and I will be chasing and punching so hard that he shakes my hand at the end of the fight.”

This will not be the biggest fight for Joyi but the 30-year-old insisted: “The timing is perfect because everyone believes I’m finished. My detractors will eat humble pie after the fight,” he said.

All five bouts of the night will be broadcast live on DStv’s SS4 (channel 204) on Saturday from 7.30pm to 11pm.

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