Two former world champions will battle for one more shot at title glory. Mexico’s Elwin “La Pulga” Soto and South African two-weight world champion Hekkie “The Hexecutioner” Budler will collide in a 12-round WBC light flyweight title eliminator this Saturday, June 25, at Palenque Fex in Mexicali, Mexico.
Soto hails from San Felipe, a two-hour drive from Mexicali, and will have the home crowd advantage. Budler, from Johannesburg, is a 34-year-old veteran who will be making only his third career appearance in North America.
Soto-Budler tops a loaded night of fights streaming live and exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+ at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Soto (19-2, 13 KOs) won the WBO light flyweight title in June 2019 with a come-from-behind 12th-round stoppage over Angel “Tito” Acosta.
He successfully defended that belt four times over the next two years, finally losing his belt last October to Jonathan Gonzalez by split decision. He has not fought since the Gonzalez defeat and hopes a win over Budler will earn him a shot at WBC world champion Kenshiro Teraji.
Budler (33-4, 10 KOs) has been 12 rounds 17 times and won the WBA 105-pound title in March 2014 when he stopped Karluis Diaz in one round. He defended that belt four times before losing a tight decision to Byron Rojas.
In May 2018, Budler edged Ryoichi Taguchi by decision to win the WBA, IBF and Ring Magazine 108-pound titles. His reign as the top 108-pounder lasted a little more than seven months. After taking a little more than two years off, Budler returned last May in Johannesburg and won the WBC Silver light flyweight belt with a unanimous decision over Jonathan Almacen.
In other streaming action:
Junior featherweight prospect Jose Ramirez Maciel (16-1, 9 KOs), from Mexicali looks for his 13th consecutive victory against Jorge Luis Martinez Monreal (13-1-1, 8 KOs) in the 10-round co-feature.
Lightweight puncher Diego Torres Nunez (14-0, 13 KOs), who knocked out 13 straight foes to start his pro career, hopes to get back on the knockout track in a 10-rounder against Royder Dzul Camacho (9-3-2, 3 KOs), who is unbeaten in his last five fights.
In an eight-rounder at featherweight, Rafael “El Divino” Espinoza (18-0, 15 KOs) will match up against Gerardo Valenzuela Munoz (10-1, 9 KOs). Espinoza has scored first-round knockouts in his last two fights.
Hermosillo-born flyweight prospect Yahir Frank (9-0, 6 KOs), a 19-year-old upstart, hopes to author a career-best victory against Carlos Mejia (8-2-1, 2 KOs) in an eight-rounder.