It’s a case of swings and roundabouts for Hekkie Budler after promoter Rodney Berman’s request for a voluntary title defence was turned down by the World Boxing Association.
Berman had hoped to squeeze in a title fight in Monte Carlo next month, but the WBA have insisted he first fulfil his mandatory against Thailand’s Knockout CP Freshmart (real name Thammanoon Niyomtrong), a bout that now looks likely for February.
Not to be deterred, Berman says he will petition the WBA at its annual convention, in Panama in mid-December, for Budler to be accorded “super champion” status. One of the requirements is for a champion to have made five defences.
Budler won the Interim title against Hugo Verchelli in 2013, was then awarded the vacant belt against Karluis Diaz and made subsequent defences against Pigmy Kokietgym, Chao Zhong Xiong, Jesus Silvestre and Simphiwe Khonco.
“Hekkie has been a proud champion of the WBA,” said Berman. “If he isn’t a Super champion, I don’t know what is.”
Current WBA “Super” champions include Wladimir Klitschko, Andre Ward, Gennady Golovkin, Leo Santa Cruz and Takashi Uchiyama.
Adding a spicy twist is that if Berman gets his way, he will push for Khonco to challenge for the Interim title given that the Interim champion will contest the regular belt.
If it sounds confusing, it’s because it is. The WBA, however, justifies it on the basis that it was created for those champions who hold the title of two or more organisations recognised by the WBA.
Budler is also IBO champion.
The creation of the category of Super champions was born from a suggestion by Lennox Lewis, the former heavyweight champion, in order to give unified champions a more flexible time to defend their titles as well as the challengers the chance to fight for the title.