Boxing Today: Teraji vs Budler LIVE on ESPN+ @ 5 am ET
By Matt Lieberman: Kenshiro Teraji will defend his WBA, WBC & The Ring light flyweight titles against former two-division world champion Hekkie Budler on Monday night, September 18th, on ESPN+ at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan. The Teraji vs. Budler event will start at 5:00 a.m. ET live in ESPN+
Teraji (21-1,13 KOs) is viewed as the #1 fighter in the 108 division, and it’s questionable how much longer he’ll stay in this weight class. At 31, Teraji needs to think about moving up to 112 & 115 if he wants to become a superstar like his countryman Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue.
Staying at 108, a division that doesn’t get much attention from boxing fans, is a dead end for Teraji, and he would be better off making a move up in weight sooner rather than later.
If Teraji does stay at light flyweight, it only makes sense for him to try and become the undisputed champion by taking on IBF champ Sive Nontshinga and WBO belt-holder Jonathan Gonzalez.
The 35-year-old Budler (35-4, 11 KOs) has won his last three fights since losing his WBA & The Ring light flyweight belts to Hiroto Kyoguchi by a tenth round knockout in 2018.
Budler has lost three times in the last six years, losing to Kyoguchi, Milan Melindo, and Byron Rojas. The two latter defeats were decision losses in competitive fights.
It’s unclear how much the South African Budler has left after 16 years in the pro ranks. There are not too many fighters his age competing at 108, but nonetheless, he’s ranked #1 WBC & #4 WBA, so those sanctioning bodies see something in him that makes them believe he’s got the good still.
Teraji vs. Budler prediction:
With his youth, Teraji will likely win by knockout over Budler in a fight that will be competitive and entertaining while it lasts.
Also on the card is WBO super flyweight champion Junto Nakatani (25-0, 19 KOs), making his first defense of his title against #6Argi Cortes (25-3-2, 10 KOs). The hard-hitting Nakatani won the vacant WBO 115-lb belt last May, stopping Andrew Moloney in the twelfth round.
Cortes, 28, lost a close 12 round unanimous decision to Juan Franciso Estrada last year in a fight that arguably could have gone the other way.
Nakatani, 25, is a tremendous puncher with the kind of talent that could enable him to capture more titles at 115 against Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez, Juan Francisco Estrada, Kazuto Ioka, and Fernando Martinez.
What Nakatani has going for him is youth, as he’s young enough to eventually fight all the other champions in the division if he gets that far.
Nakatani vs. Cortes prediction:
The powerful Nakatani will win by a 12 round unanimous decision over Cortes.
Other fights on the undercard:
- Giemel Magramo vs. Anthony Olascuaga
- Tenshin Nasukawa vs. Luis Guzman Torres
- Hayato Yokoyama vs. Takumu Tamagawa
Teraji vs. Budler: Key Details for U.S. Boxing Fans
Date and Time:
- Fight Date: Monday, September 18
- Main Card Begins: 5 a.m. ET / 11 a.m BST
- Venue: Ariake Arena, Tokyo, Japan
- Approximate Ringwalk Time: 7 a.m. ET / 1 p.m BST
How to Watch:
- For U.S. Viewers: Streamed LIVE on ESPN+
Quick Tip: Ensure you set your alarms! The main card starts promptly at 5 a.m. ET / 11 a.m BST.
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