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Botha wants SBW fight expunged

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iol spt feb11 Fransie-SBW

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Francois Botha, right, has confirmed he wants a controversial heavyweight defeat to Sonny Bill Williams scrapped from the record. Photo by Chris Hyde

Johannesburg – Veteran boxer Francois Botha has confirmed he will be taking his own drug test, saying he wants a heavyweight defeat to Sonny Bill Williams scrapped from the record.

As the post-bout confusion continued three days after the contest on Friday, Botha said in a statement: “I have asked my manager to apply to have the bout expunged from my record.”

Williams, a former All Black rugby star, won the fight on points in Brisbane on Friday, though the match has been labelled a farce in some circles after it was seemingly cut short by two rounds.

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

The fight was initially scheduled for November, over 10 rounds, according to Botha's promoter, Tinus Strydom, but was postponed to this month after Williams picked up an injury while playing rugby.

Williams' management had applied for the bout to be upgraded to a World Boxing Association (WBA) International title fight, allegedly without Strydom's knowledge.

“When I first heard about it I did not think that the WBA would grant it and therefore I did not question the development, since I firmly believed that the fight's (status) would not change,” Strydom said.

“However, all the while, Nasser Khoder's promotion material, both television and print in Australia, advertised the bout as a 12-rounder.”

When he arrived in Australia a week ahead of the contest, Strydom said it “seemed a foregone conclusion” that it had been declared a 12-rounder and that Khoder, Williams' manager, had succeeded in acquiring the WBA International title status for the fight. Reports later claimed that no WBA officials were at the tournament.

“Just before the start of the bout, the Aussie fight officials who were overseeing the tournament called me and pointed out that my contract was for a 10-round bout, and that's the way it was going to be,” Strydom said.

“It was correct since the contract details were never altered after the November postponement.

“I immediately informed Botha's trainer, Hardy Mileham.”

Strydom said Mileham, who was left fuming in a television interview after the contest, had asked referee Tony Kettlewell, who confirmed that it would be fought over 12 rounds.

“I have not heard from Australia's boxing officials or from the WBA, but my gut feel is that the bout will be declared a 'no contest' because of the conflict created by the advertisements which declared that the bout was a 12-rounder,” Strydom said.

Botha confirmed he would be conducting his own drug test to try and clear his name.

He said a test had been done a few days before the fight, but he was told afterwards it was “unofficial” when he asked for the results.

“I also found out that the person doing the test was a confidant of Khoder Nasser – either a relative or a friend,” Botha said.

He said Kettlewell had confirmed before the fight that the contest would be held over 12 rounds.

“From the start of the bout, my strategy was to pace myself over 12 rounds, and from round seven I started turning on the pressure,” he said.

“After nine rounds I was quite happy with my progress and then all of a sudden I hear the ref say 'final round, shake hands'.

“I had Williams in all sorts of trouble in the 10th round and there was no way he was going to last one more round, let alone two. He was out on his feet.

“It was a disgusting state of affairs and it amounts to match fixing.” – Sapa


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