Botha challenges SBW to ‘redeem himself’

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Francois Botha (right) has challenged Sonny Bill Williams to a rematch in South Africa.

Johannesburg – Former IBF world heavyweight champion Francois Botha says Sonny Bill Williams needs to get back in the ring with the South African if he wants to redeem himself.

“If he wants to regain his honour and win back the favour of the people, he will have to get back in the ring with me,” Botha said on Wednesday.

“There are already talks that the fight will be in December in South Africa and I am hoping for one in Durban.”

This follows their controversial heavyweight fight in Brisbane, Australia, last week when Williams won the bout on points.

A furore broke out after the contest with allegations of match-fixing and doping dominating the headlines.

Australian media reported on Sunday that Botha had tested positive for banned substances Phentermine and Benzodiazepine.

The White Buffalo said he had since undergone his own drug test at the Lancet Laboratories in South Africa, which came back negative.

“I landed in South Africa on the Sunday, and the next day I went for the tests, and it came back clean,” he said.

“I sent the results back to Australia and New Zealand for them to see for themselves.

“The only people who could have done those tests were the Australian Boxing Commission, and they didn't even do it.”

Shortly after the doping reports surfaced, John Hogg, a member of the Australian National Boxing Federation, denied that he knew anything about them.

Botha planted another counter-blow, claiming he had been offered a $150 000 bribe by Williams' agent, Khoder Nasser, in a Brisbane park before the bout.

The South African said he had never in his 23-year career – during which he crossed swords with respected heavyweights such as Evander Holyfield, Wladimir Klitchko, Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis – been placed in such a position.

“It is the first time in my life that I have come across something like this.

“Back in 1999 (when he was knocked out by Tyson) I could have thrown a fight and made millions of dollars, but now they want me to do this against this upstart? It is not worth it.”

Botha said reducing the fight from 12 to 10 rounds was tantamount to match-fixing.

He said when they initially started negotiations for the bout, scheduled to take place in November last year, it was agreed it would be contested over 10 rounds.

The fight, however, had been rescheduled after Williams underwent surgery on his pectoral muscle in October 2012.

Botha said Williams' management had applied for the bout to be upgraded to a World Boxing Association (WBA) International title fight.

“I met with the WBA's Stan Christodoulou (the WBA representative in South Africa) and he said there could be no WBA title fight with only 10 rounds,” the boxer said.

“So the fight is not legal, and I don't want the fight on my record anyway.”

He was adamant that he would have won the bout had it gone the distance.

“I was advancing in the last round. I was busy chopping the tree down, slowly but surely, and it was slowly falling. He would not have finished the fight.” – Sapa


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