In one of his finest performances, South Africa’s Hekkie Budler travelled to Mexico and against the odds outpointed local favourite Elwin “Pulga” Soto over 12 rounds in a WBC light flyweight title eliminator on Saturday night, at the Gimnasio del Polideportivo in Mexicali, BCN, Mexico.
The scores were 114-113 on all three judges’ scorecards.
The 34-year-old Budler (34-4; 10) surprised the critics, with some predicting an inside-the-distance win for the Mexican.
Using all his of experience in championship fights and boxing from the jab, he frustrated the former WBO champion who tended to follow the South African around the ring and was unable to score with swinging punches against the slick-moving Budler.
There was little in it going into the 12th and last round, but a flash knockdown sealed it for Budler, who was a 4-1 underdog going into the fight.
Soto’s record dropped to 19-3; 13.
Before the fight, Budler was listed at No 1 and Soto at No 3 by the WBC, and he now qualifies to challenge Japan’s Kenshiro Teraji for the WBC light flyweight belt.