To the surprise, if not downright amazement, of almost everyone, Byron Rojas unseated Hekkie Budler as WBA World minimumweight champ via unanimous decision at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park, Gauteng, South Africa, on March 19.
As Budler’s promoter Rodney Berman said just prior to the fight, “Rojas is a dangerous boxer.”
Twenty-five-year-old Rojas of Matagalpa, Nicaragua (17-2-3, 8 KOs, 1 no contest), had won the Nicaraguan minimumweight title in November 2013 by beating Jose Aguilar via unanimous decision. “Gallito” has never been stopped and hasn’t lost since December 2012, when he was beaten by Roger Collado via split decision. His only other loss came that August, losing by split decision to Luis Rios.
A native of Johannesburg, 27-year-old Budler (29-2, 9 KOs) won the interim WBA World minimumweight title by stopping Hugo Hernan Verchelli via fourth-round TKO in November 2013 and the vacant WBA World minimumweight title by knocking out Karluis Diaz in the first in March 2014, a title he successfully defended four times, most recently last September when he beat Simphiwe Khonco by unanimous decision. The WBA elevated Budler to Super World champ at its convention in Panama in February. “The Hexecutioner” had only lost once before, beaten by Gideon Buthelezi via split decision in January 2011.
Rojas gratefully accepted his black and gold belt from WBA First Vice President Renzo Bagnariol on Wednesday, the 23rd.
“I am grateful for the opportunity and from now on I will work a lot harder,” the new champ told the press at the time of the presentation.
A fighter who does daily roadwork and works out every day at the gym, Rojas also attends veterinary school. He will, however, be taking about a week off and will “now go to sleep with my belt.”
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.