WBA & WBC light flyweight titleholder Kenshiro Teraji (22-1, 14 KOs) outclassed the experienced Hekkie Budler (36-5, 11 KOs), delivering a knockout in the ninth round on Monday night at Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan.
Teraji, 31, displayed a sudden barrage of strikes against the 35-year-old former two-division world titleholder from South Africa, Budler, during the ninth round. This barrage of punches overwhelmed Budler, prompting referee Jose Guadalupe Garcia to intervene and end the bout.
The bout was halted at 2:19 of the ninth round. At that time, Teraji had a clear lead on all three judges’ cards with scores: 80-72 79-73 79-73
Throughout the fight, Teraji showcased his dominance, striking Budler at his convenience and seemingly playing with him during each round.
Budler consistently advanced with an open stance, attempting to land punches. However, he was often countered by Teraji’s precise strikes.
Budler’s limited power and defense made it a challenge for him, as he didn’t possess the skills necessary to surprise the proficient WBA/WBC 108-lb titleholder Teraji.
By the sixth round, it became evident that Budler might not last the entire duration. He was enduring significant damage from Teraji’s blows, and his fatigue was evident from the powerful punches he received.
Considering the circumstances, it was predictable when Budler met his defeat in the ninth round.
The future for Budler remains uncertain. At 35, he’s considered old for the light flyweight division. After losing his WBA 108-lb title to Hiroto Kyoguchi with a tenth round knockout in 2018, it took Budler five years to secure this opportunity.
Given his current age and the toll from his latest fight against Teraji, it’s challenging to foresee Budler waiting another five years for a title opportunity at age 40. The signs of aging are already visible, and this demanding fight against Teraji only magnified them.