Johannesburg - Veteran South African boxer Francois Botha has cancelled his plans over the holiday period as he prepares for his fight against All Black rugby star Sonny Bill Williams.
Botha, the former WBF heavyweight champion, squares up against Williams, the New Zealand heavyweight title holder, in Brisbane, Australia, in February.
Having faced the likes of Evander Holyfield, Wladimir Klitschko and Lennox Lewis in the past, the 44-year-old South African said on Wednesday he hoped his WBA International heavyweight fight against Williams would elevate his status in an effort to gain another crack at a global belt.
"I want to win this fight and then we'll see what the WBA will line up for me," Botha said.
"This will be a WBA International title bout so there's plenty at stake and it could propel my career back into the big time.
"I've cancelled all plans for vacationing over the festive period so that I will arrive in Aussie in great shape. I've already lost eight kilos and that gives one an idea of how hard I've been training."
Rather than relaxing over the festive break, Botha was focussed on his training.
"For now it's roadwork in the heat of the day and that's followed by working out in the gym with weights and pads. In January, it will just be sparring."
The fight was initially due to take place on November 24 but was postponed after Williams injured his pectoral muscle playing for Japanese club Panasonic Wild Knights in October.