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Budler is tough, warns Villamor

By: Edri K. Aznar, Sunstar Cebu

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ALTHOUGH Hekkie Budler isn’t one of the biggest names in the Japanese-dominated light flyweight division, ALA Gym head trainer Edito Villamor is most certain that he belongs to the cream of the crop of the 108-pound weight class.

“Budler is a great champion and his record says it all. He’s a tough and durable fighter,” Melindo’s coach Villamor told SunStar Cebu.

Budler is Melindo’s challenger for the first title defense of his International Boxing Federation (IBF) light flyweight crown in the main event of Pinoy Pride 42 on Sept. 16 at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino.

The 29-year-old Budler is a former World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Organization (IBO) champion. He has beaten the likes of former world champions Nkosinathi Joyi, Florante Condes and Chao Zhong Xiong. Budler, 32-2 with 10 knockouts, is coming off an eighth round stoppage victory over Filipino prospect Joey Canoy.

Villamor believes that Budler possesses a style that should make a very fan-friendly fight.

“This will be a great fight because every time Milan fights, he’s a stylish boxer, especially against Budler who also wants to trade punches,” he said. “This will be great for the boxing fans who will watch it. They will love it because these are two world champions fighting. Budler is also a named fighter in South Africa and in the world.”

Melindo has already logged 26 rounds of sparring since last week. He has been sparring with youngsters Virgel Vitor, Christian Bacolod and Jess Rhey Waminal. He’ll start sparring with KJ Cataraja and former world title contender Arthur Villanueva next week.

“Our focus is on his movements, his timing in throwing his punches and his balance when delivering his punches,” said Villamor.

Fans will get a glimpse of Melindo’s training in a public workout today at the Island City Mall in Lapu-Lapu City at 5 p.m.

The 29-year-old Melindo, 36-2 with 13 knockouts, got the biggest win of his career last May with a first round technical knockout victory over Japanese star Akira Yaegashi. The win solidified his status as a world champion. (EKA)

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