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Hekkie Budler beats Ryoichi Taguchi, wins two 108-pound belts

Hekkie Budler is a world champion once again.

Ryoichi Taguchi v Hekkie Budler - IBF & WBA Light Flyweight Title Bout Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

South Africa’s Hekkie Budler had to go on the road to do it, but he eked out a narrow decision victory over Ryoichi Taguchi today in Japan, winning the WBA and IBF junior flyweight titles.

Budler (32-3, 10 KO) won on scores of 114-113 across the board. The victory makes the 30-year-old “Hexecutioner” a two-division world champion, as he previously held titles at 105 pounds earlier this decade.

The win is obviously huge for Budler, who challenged for the IBF belt last September, losing a controversial split decision in the Philippines to Milan Melindo. Melindo lost the belt to Taguchi in December.

Taguchi (27-3-2, 12 KO) came on strong in the second half of the fight after a slow start, and was able to drop Budler in the 12th round, but it wound up not being enough. The 31-year-old Taguchi hadn’t lost a fight since 2013, when he was beaten by a young Naoya Inoue in Inoue’s fourth pro bout.

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