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KNOW YOUR STARS: Hekkie Budler is a charmer
(By Bongani Magasela - sowetan.co.za)

April 6, 2010

Boxer fell in love with snakes at school

If IBO junior flyweight champion Hekkie “Hexecutioner” Budler was black, I believe that no black boxer would fight him.

That’s not only because he has the heart of a lion, but because he owns six pythons, an anaconda and a corn snake. Call it superstition if you like, but if he was black he would be accused of many nasty things, including practising witchcraft, and his career would have suffered .

Sowetan spoke to the popular, diminutive 21-year- old fighter about his other loves at Avusa House in Rosebank yesterday.

Q: Are you normal? You don’t seem so. Why eight snakes?

A: A friend gave me his just to feel it at primary school and I fell in love with them then. I like the way they move, eat and grow. They are easy to take care of. I have had very influential people from all walks of life visiting our house just to see the snakes.

Q: Do you have a girlfriend and if you do, how does she react to snakes?

A: Yes I do, professional dancer Rhode Jooste. She does not mind them. She holds

hem, except for the anaconda. She does not like it when I feed them rabbits.

Q: When did this boxing bug bite?

A: When I was eight years old.

Q: Who is your trainer and manager?

A: Colin Nathan.

Q: You turned professional three years ago. Did you think you would be a world champion by now?

A: Not at all. I want to thank God, my parents, Colin, promoter Rodney Berman and my sponsors Africa Floorcare, Sullen and Lashik Hair for my success.

Q: A message to your fans.

A: I am blessed to have you behind me all the time.

Q: Boxing is brutal – what is your response?

A: Yes, in some respects, but it is mostly a mental game.

Q: How long do you plan to continue as a fighter?

A: I will think about retirement after (turning) 30. Surely I will have made enough money so that when I stop I will never have to come back.

Q: Do you drink alcohol?

A: I don’t mind a glass or two when I am not preparing for a fight.

Q: The people you admire most?

A: Nelson Mandela and Lance Armstrong.

Q: Your favourite soccer clubs locally and abroad?

A: SuperSport United and Manchester United.

Q: How do you relax?

A: At home by playing X-Box and also playing with my snakes.

Q: Your favourite soapie?

A: 7de Laan.

Q: Who is your favourite musician?

A: Eminem.

Q: When last were you involved in a street fight?

A: Way back at school seven years ago.

Q: Who do you regard as the greatest boxer ever locally and abroad?

A: Muhammad Ali. Here, Brian Mitchell and “Baby Jake” Matlala.

Q: I know that you don’t have a car but what would you like to drive?

A: A Ford Mustang GT500.

Q: Which is your favourite newspaper?

A: Sowetan, not because I am here at your offices. It carries lots of sport.

Q: Your message to the youth your age and even older?

A: Live clean, follow your dream, stay strong and the future ahead is bright.

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