Cruiser bruisers come face to face

Kevin and Johnny

Johnny Muller and Kevin Lerena go head to head again on April 24.

The rematch has percolated for 18 months – finally, Johnny Muller versus Kevin Lerena is a go!

The fight was signed months ago, but it was all confirmed at Emperors Palace on Wednesday afternoon when the pair came face to face at the official media conference announcing “The Brawl for it All” on April 24. Continue reading

Berman nixes Kamanga’s US debut

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Paul Kamanga rams home a straight left against Roman Belaev. Pic: James Gradidge (N-Squared)

Sometimes winning isn’t enough.

Paul Kamanga found this out the hard way after his laboured triumph over Roman Belaev on Saturday.

Promoter Rodney Berman has nixed his appearance on a major tournament in Las Vegas in May, saying “Paul isn’t yet ready to go onto the world stage as a potential future world champion.” Continue reading

‘I boxed terribly’ – beaten Budler

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Hekkie Budler and Byron Rojas banging away on Saturday. Pic: James Gradidge (N-Squared)

Battered by his opponent and now battered by flu, it hasn’t been the best of weeks for former world champion Hekkie Budler.

Three days after suffering just his second defeat in 10 years, the little fighter was still trying to come to terms with the loss. He’s an excellent strategist, but even he hasn’t been able to work out why he was so demonstrably out of form against Byron Rojas on Saturday. Continue reading

Shock loss torpedoes big fights

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Byron Rojas is all business as he flashes a left hook on a battered Hekkie Budler on Saturday night. Pic: James Gradidge (N-Squared)

The best-laid plans of promoter Rodney Berman went up in smoke on Saturday night.

As Hekkie Budler took shot after shot against an inspired Byron Rojas, the veteran boss of Golden Gloves knew that hopes of big-money bouts and unification clashes had gone up in dust as Budler lost for just the second time in 10 years. Continue reading

Budler’s world comes crashing down

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As the mantle passes from one champion to the next, Hekkie Budler hoists Byron Rojas after their 12-round battle at Emperors Palace. Pic: James Gradidge (N-Squared)

The long-standing reign of Hekkie Budler was brought to a shuddering halt at Emperors Palace on Saturday after running into a freight train named Byron Rojas.

The little-known Nicaraguan produced the performance of his life to rip the WBA and IBO titles from Budler, who had no answer to the South American’s clever angles and sharp-shooting. Continue reading

‘Supercharged’ showdown

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World champion Hekkie Budler and Nicaraguan challenger Byron Rojas. Pic: James Gradidge (N-Squared)

With just four days to go until the biggest boxing tournament of the year, excitement was at fever-pitch at the pre-fight medical and media conference at Emperors Palace for “Supercharged” on Tuesday afternoon.

Unusually, there was no smack talk with the respect between all the boxers very evident. Byron Rojas spoke up Hekkie Budler’s status as the best strawweight in the world and both Paul Kamanga and Roman Belaev exuded cool confidence ahead of Saturday. Continue reading

WBC pay warm tribute

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WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman, who sent the world body’s condolences. Pic: Courtesy WBC

The World Boxing Council has paid warm tribute to Shona MacTaggart, the Golden Gloves stalwart who died earlier this week.

The tributes were led by WBC president Mauricio Sulaimán Saldívar himself, who said from Mexico: “I am so sorry to learn this sad news . I kindly ask you to convey to her family the deepest feelings and condolences from the WBC family and the Sulaiman family.” Continue reading