‘I’m going out on my own terms’: Hekkie Budler retires from boxing

20 March 2024 - 13:51
subscribe Just R20 for the first month. Support independent journalism by subscribing to our digital news package.
Subscribe now
Hekkie Budler has retired from boxing. File photo
Hekkie Budler has retired from boxing. File photo
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

South Africa's most decorated fighter, Hekkie “Hexecutioner” Budler, said he was going out on his own terms” when he hung up his boxing gloves late on Tuesday night.

Speaking to BoxingScene.Com, the 35 year-old, a former two weight world champion who also won the Ring Magazine belt, said: “I like testing myself. I like going to the gym and working extra hard to prove people wrong in the ring.

“I think I'll miss that. I was never one for the limelight or anything like that so I won't miss that at all, but that thrill you get, that rush, getting to the ring, ready for a fight, that stress, butterflies in the stomach, I think that will be the hardest thing to get over.”

Budler, from Newlands, west of Johannesburg, who has an impressive fight record of 35 wins, 11 knockouts and five losses, took the decision after a heart-to-heart conversation with his long-time trainer, Colin “Nomakanjani” Nathan.

They had been together since Budler's first professional match in 2007.

Hekkie Budler vs Kenshiro Teraji, highlights.

“As a fighter I still want to fight but I always said it was for the people around me to tell me [when it's time to retire], specially people like Colin and wife and my dad and mum.

“When they see it takes me longer to get fit, when my timing isn't there any more, they should tell me and I want to hang it up.

“I want to to hang it up when my mind is still there, I am still able to talk fine, I am still able to communicate and I feel good, then it's the right time. I believe I can hang with guys but that's why you should have people around you who are looking after you.

“I've always told everybody I'm lucky to have Colin because he's always told me straight and told me how things are, what's happening, which fights are happening, when he's arranging fights.

“He tells me every step of what's going on and where we are and I believe everything Colin says. I want to keep fighting and keep  going but I'm going out on my own terms, at my own time. I'm done now.”

Nathan was quoted as saying: “I said, 'it's not just about you — you've got a daughter, you've got a family, this is about the quality of life you present to them too'.

“It's been on my mind [the talk]. It was kind of like the elephant in the room and I am sure Hekkie had it way more than me but it became a bit irritating in the end.

“Is he going to retire? Something I owed to Hekkie was to tell him how I felt, and what I felt the most logical and practical and healthwise reason was before I told anyone else.

“The relationship changes, but the love and respect stays the same. Now we can sit back and reminisce about the trips.

“Like when we were stuck at the airport and sleeping on the floor coming back from Mexico after beating Elwin Soto, when we spent 18 hours in the airport, those kind of things. The wins and losses come and go, but the memories stay with you forever.”

Budler won the WBA and IBO minimum weight titles and unified WBA and IBF and Ring Magazine junior-flyweight belts.

In his last fight on September 18 last year he was stopped in the ninth round by Kenshiro Teraji for the WBA (Super), WBC and Ring junior-flyweight titles in Japan.

subscribe Just R20 for the first month. Support independent journalism by subscribing to our digital news package.
Subscribe now

Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.