South Africa’s Hekkie Budler, the WBA and IBO minimumweight champion, made a successful defence against Mexico’s Jesús Silvestre with a a unanimous points decision on Saturday night at Salle des Étoiles in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
At the end of the all-action 12-rounder, which was one of the feature bouts on Rodney Berman’s Golden Gloves Promotions ‘Thunderbolt’ tournament, the judges scored the bout 115-112 on two cards and 117-110 on the third.
It was Budler’s third consecutive appearance at the Monte Carlo venue and this victory stretched his winning streak to 11 fights over a four-year period. The 26-year-old Budler, ringnamed ‘The Hexecutioner’ improved his pro fight career record to 28 wins, 9 by knock-out, and 1 defeat.
The 25-year-old Silvestre’s record now stands at 30 wins, 22 by KO, and 6 defeats.
Although one of the three judges gave Budler the verdict by six points the fight appeared far more closer and by the time the 12th and final round dawned it was not obviously clear who would be the eventual winner.
As usual, Budler was a slow starter and Silvestre looked like he had done enough to shade his opponent in the first three rounds.
In the second round, South African referee Stanley Christodoulou penalised Silvestre for a shocking low blow. Budler needed a two-minute ‘time-out’ before he could continue.
Over the next rounds, Budler relied on a strong counter-punching display to keep his hopes alive and he appeared to be landing the more punches, on target.
For most of the way, Budler was forced on the backfoot but his superb defence, coupled with timely bobbing and weaving, saw him home throughout the middle rounds and with two rounds remaining he looked like he had done enought to retain his titles provided he could stay out of trouble over the rest of the bout.
As the final two rounds wound its course, both fighters stepped up their work rate appreciably but Bulder was proving the more accurate and smarter.