Hekkie Budler Upsets Elwin Soto with Late Knockdown!
In a WBC light flyweight title eliminator, former unified world champion Hekkie “The Hexecutioner” Budler (34-4, 10KO) pulled off the upset against former WBO champion Elwin “La Pulga” Soto (19-3, 13KO).
La Pulga shocked the boxing community with a career-changing victory over former WBO champion Angel Acosta in 2019. The fight was not without controversy as fans were unhappy with the way the fight was stopped. Nonetheless, Soto went on to have three successful title defenses. On October 2021, he was on the receiving end of an upset after losing to Jonathan Gonzalez.
The Hexecutioner’s career has spanned over fifteen years and he is a two-divisional champion. In 2014, he won his first world title, the vacant WBA minimumweight title, by defeating Karluis Diaz. He would make four defenses before losing the title to Byron Rojas in 2016. In 2018, Budler reemerged on the championship scene after a shocking victory over Ryoichi Taguchi, but he would lose the titles to Hiroto Kyoguchi. However, he lost to Hiroto Kyoguchi the same year.
THROWING THE POWER SHOTS EARLY
Soto, fighting in front of the hometown fans, wasted little time and threw hard punches early in the fight. He landed the overhand right, followed by left hooks to the body. Budler, the more experienced fighter, focused on moving around the ring, using the jab and landing good combination flurries.
However, Soto continued to stay in Budler’s chest, landing more hard right hands that caused a cut on the right eyebrow of the more experienced boxer.
Soto, for some reason, in the middle rounds shifted attack by trying to move backward and fight off the back foot. Budler took advantage of the less aggressive Soto and was landing the jab followed by right and left hooks to the body.
Budler continued to mount a comeback going into the closing round as his movement and one-two punch combination frustrated Soto. His counterpunching became key. He landed counter right hands and left hooks. However, Soto kept coming forward landing solid body shots.
In the twelfth round, Budler landed a perfect counter right hand that caught Soto off balance, sending his hand to the canvas for a knockdown. This was the pivotal moment as the knockdown was key to the judge’s scoring it 114-113 for Budler. The former unified champion is back in title contention for a shot at WBC champion Kenshiro Teraji.
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By: Garrisson Bland