Budler is widely regarded as either the #1 or the #2 fighter in the division along with Takayama who fills out the top 2 with most fans and independent rankings.
Although not much of a puncher Budler is still a nightmare to fight. He's quick on his feet, accurate with his punches and is very sharp with his shots which are often thrown in buzzsaw like combinations. It's not that he's going to knock out rivals regularly or hurt them but he's going to keep stinging them until whilst making them miss, a bit like Takayama does when he's at his best.
The lack of power hasn't prevented Budler from becoming an elite level buzzsaw who has managed to score notable wins against the likes of Florante Condes and Nkosinathi Joyi, both of whom are world class fighters even if they were slightly on the slide to what they were once.
This weekend sees Budler defending his WBA title against experienced Thai Pigmy Kokietgym (52-6-2, 22) who is stepping up to world class for just the second time in his long career.
The 32 year old Pigmy debuted way back in 1999 and began his career with an unconvincing 12-5-1 (8). Since then however he gone an amazing 40-1-1 (14) and established himself as one of the busiest men on the Thai boxing scene with around 4 bouts per year for the last 10 years. Of course, as we all know, Thai's are busy fighters though tend to fight a lot of poor fighters in an attempt to just stay busy and keep paydays coming in and unfortunately this has been the case with Pigmy who's most notable wins have come against very limited opponents.
Although he has 60 fights on his record Pigmy has only fought in 1 world title fight, losing that to the then unbeaten Kwanthai Sithmorseng on November 2010 via a split decision. Although he gave a great account of himself in that fight he still came up short and has been effectively put on the side until now.
Much like Budler, Pigmy is a fighter who basis his work on speed and tries to break down fighters or out point them with volume as opposed to blasting through opponents. He's not quite as sharp or technically correct as Budler but he's got the Thai warrior mentality and will continually take the fight to an opponent meaning that this could be a very interesting contest to watch.
Sadly for Pigmy the deck is stacked against him and whilst stylistically he and the South African are similar everything else is against the Thai. Pigmy at 32 years old, is getting on for a Minimumweight whilst the 26 year old Budler is just hitting his prime, the fight will be in Monaco on a show promoted by Golden Gloves Promotions, the company who back Budler, and it'll be the first bout outside of Asia for Pigmy.
We're expecting a very fun to watch battle here with both men throwing a hell of a lot at the other but unfortunately for Pigmy we simply can't see him over-coming the smarter, faster and every so slightly more powerful South African who appears to have all the advantages both out of the ring and in the ring. Thankfully with all the action we're expecting we're unlikely to find much to complain about after the fight which we're hoping could steal the show.
(Image courtesy of Golden Gloves Promotions, unfortunately it only features Budler and Martin Murray and not Pigmy)