It may have taken Hekkie Budler nine years to become an overnight success, but finally, big-time recognition appears to be coming his way.
The popular champion will be returning to Emperors Palace on March 19 to defend his WBA and IBO titles – an announcement of an opponent is imminent – and major broadcaster ESPN is coming to the party.
Budler’s fight, his 14th with a world championship on the line, will be broadcast on one of ESPN’s affiliate channels with major take-up in the Caribbean and South America.
News of ESPN coming on board is also a boon for Paul Kamanga, who fights Roman Belaev on the undercard. Kamanga is one of the best-kept secrets in the welterweight division, but that could change if he produces the business on ESPN. Indeed, incentives don’t come much bigger.
He faces a big test against fringe contender Belaev and if he comes through that, he will co-feature on a Banner Promotions show in the US in May.
“I’ve spoken to my colleague Art Pelullo, who is excited by Paul’s prospects. There’s so much going on in the welterweight division and Paul deserves to be part of the mix. America is where it’s at, so that’s the plan.”
On Budler, Berman added: “This is a great endorsement for Hekkie in particular. ESPN are very selective about who they broadcast, so this is affirmation of Hekkie’s class. He’s undisputed number one in the division – now the world will get to see why.”
As ever, the action will also be broadcast live on SuperSport.