Hekkie Budler is a South African sporting giant who happens to be the shortest and smallest world boxing champion.
He is the current WBA strawweight and IBO minimumweight champion and is also a former IBO light flyweight champion.
The authoritative Ring magazine rated him as the No 1 strawweight in the world, a ranking that he has held for some time, and the only South African to hold this position in recent years.
Born Hector in Johannesburg on May 18, 1988, he was introduced into boxing by his father, also called Hekkie, at the age of nine, at the Hugenot Boxing Club in Brixton near Johannesburg.
Being so young and small he became completely frustrated, as his trainer would not allow him to spar and he was made to concentrate on his footwork and balance.
However, in March 1999, at the age of 10, he had his first amateur fight and won on points after knocking his opponent down five times.
He subsequently moved to other amateur clubs before finally ending up at the legendary Booysens Club in the south of Johannesburg, established many years ago by possibly the finest amateur coach in the history of South African boxing Jack Eustace.
He started out as a cadet in the 12-16 age category and then moved into the juniors, which fell into the 17-19 age bracket.
He finally ended in the senior class of 17 and upwards and boxed in this class until the age of 19.
In an outstanding career he is reported to have had 150 fights with only 10 losses, winning his first championship at 28kg in the Johannesburg Cadet championships.
As a cadet he won the South Africa championship on two occasions, and as a senior won the Johannesburg title and a provincial title.
At the 2005 South African championships he won the light flyweight class, where he was reported as the youngest amateur boxer in the history of South African boxing to win a national senior title. He has also taken part in 23 international fights as an amateur.
Budler had dreamed of staying in the amateur game and qualifying for the 2008 Olympics but found that politics in the sport at the time was too much to handle, so he decided to join the professional ranks.