South African Hekkie Budler upset champion Ryoichi Taguchi over 12 hard-fought rounds to claim the WBA, IBF and The Ring light flyweight titles on Sunday in Tokyo, Japan.
All three of the official judges saw it 114-113 in favour of Budler.
— WBA Boxing (@WBABoxing) May 20, 2018
The 30-year-old Budler (32-3, 10 KOs) took the fight to the lanky and much taller Taguchi (27-3-2, 12 KOs) in the early rounds but in the later half of the bout, the home favourite came back strongly.
Taguchi, known to be a slow starter, started to find his range from the sixth round onwards and started landing some big shots but Budler kept up landing punches of his own to keep things tight.
The Japanese fighter really came on as the fight progressed and scored a knockdown in the twelfth and final round.
But it wasn’t enough, as Budler had won enough rounds to win the titles up for grabs.