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Ryoichi Taguchi vs. Hekkie Budler Boxing Preview, Pick, Odds, Prediction - 5/20/18

Budler vs. Taguchi

Boxing: Sunday May 20, 2018 (Ota City General Gymnasium)

The Line: -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

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Ryoichi Taguchi and Hekkie Budler fight Sunday at the Ota City General Gymnasium for the World Boxing Association World Light Flyweight Title.

Ryoichi Taguchi enters this fight with a 27-2-2 record that includes 12 knockouts. Taguchi has won nine of his last 10 fights, and he’s coming off a December win over Milan Melindo. Taguchi is coming off the biggest win of his career, a fight that wasn’t even that close, and he’s making a case as the best boxer pound for pound in Japan. Taguchi hasn’t lost a fight since his 2013 bout with Naoya Inoue and will be defending his belt for the eighth straight fight. Taguchi is a 31-year-old who stands at 5’5”, has a 67 inch reach and an orthodox stance. Taguchi is an aggressive fighter with a pressure style and good defense, as he keeps his hands high in good position and waits for his opponent to make a mistake. Taguchi loves working the body and despite the lack of knockouts, he can hurt with a body shot, something he’s done many times in his career. Taguchi has a good work rate and does a good job of slipping punches, which also helps on his counters. And now that Taguchi has a notable win under his belt, he’s getting tougher and tougher to doubt. Taguchi has fought his whole career in Japan, his birthplace. 

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Ryoichi Taguchi vs. Hekkie Budler Boxing Preview, Pick, Odds, Prediction - 5/20/18

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Hekkie Budler enters this fight with a 31-3 record that includes 10 knockouts. Budler has split his last four fights, and he’s coming off a September loss to Milan Melindo. Budler is coming off a controversial split decision loss and has now lost two of the bigger fights on his resume. Still, Budler has a chance to redeem himself with a victory here while earning a belt on his opponents home soil. Budler is a 30-year-old South African who stands at 5’3”, has a 65 inch reach and an orthodox stance. Budler is an athletic boxer who moves well in the ring, has good defensive positioning and counters well. Budler can be tough to hit at times due to constant movement and patience, and he’s going to pick his spots when to be aggressive. Also, all three of Budler’s losses could have truly gone either way, which indicates just how tough his fights can be to judge. Budler isn’t known for his punching power, but four of his last eight victories have come by stoppage, so he can’t be completely underestimated. This will be Budler’s first career fight in Japan. 

You can never say in sports that one guy lost to somebody who the other guy beat, so this should be a victory for guy X. However, Taguchi had his way with Melindo, the same fighter Budler just lost to. Taguchi is the faster puncher, puts his punches together cleaner and has a considerable size advantage, both in height and reach. There’s also something to be said for fighters who lose some of the bigger bouts on their resume, and you can argue that’s the case with Budler. It’s tough seeing him hush the critics and win a fight in Japan against one of the top boxers the country has to offer.

Taguchi gets the victory here.

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