Botha, SBW 'agreed' to change

2013-02-09 10:16

Sydney - Sonny Bill Williams and Francois Botha agreed to a ten-round fight before they met in Brisbane on Friday.

Williams has said on his Twitter account both boxers knew the heavyweight bout would be over ten rounds; not twelve.

And Botha’s promoter, Tinus Strydom, told local media he had reluctantly agreed to the change shortly before the fight, which Williams won on points.

GALLERY: Sonny Bill Williams v Francois Botha

VIDEO: Sonny Bill Williams v Francois Botha - highlights

The 27-year-old rugby international was in trouble at the end of the tenth round of his sixth professional fight as the 44-year-old Botha came within seconds of knocking out the New Zealander.

Controversy erupted after the result was announced because just about everyone believed the fight had to be over 12 rounds because it was for the WBA international title.

Botha still described the result as "match-fixing" and spectators and bookmakers were enraged.

An Australian boxing official told local pay TV channel Fox Sports on Saturday both camps had agreed to shorten the bout.

The fight's status as a title bout was plunged into doubt, however, with confirmation that no WBA official was present.

"Whether the fight was formally sanctioned by the WBA, you'd have to ask the WBA or the promoter. We don't get involved in the sanctioning," John Hogg, a committee member of the Australian National Boxing Federation, told Fox Sports.

Hogg's comments contrasted with the confusion expressed by the Federation’s vice-president, Alan Moore, who was one of the judges. He told The Australian newspaper he had "no idea" the bout would be shortened.

"When the ring announcer said that it was the last round, that was the first we (the judges) knew of any change," Moore was quoted as saying.

The controversy has come at a sensitive time for sport in Australia, where police are investigating at least one potential case of match-fixing, and an explosive report warning that local competitions were at a high risk of manipulation by organised crime.

The abbreviated fight was slammed by bookmaker TAB New Zealand, who refunded "pick the round" bets on the fight.

"We went to great pains to double check and triple check that it was 12 rounds because (in) a Sonny Bill fight this has happened before," TAB New Zealand bookmaker Mark Stafford, whose agency refunded 'pick-the-round' bets, told New Zealand radio on Saturday.

"So we're pretty annoyed about it."

Stafford said his agency had taken bets on three of Williams's six professional fights, with two of them shortened without anybody knowing. He added that they were doubtful about opening another book with the rugby player.

Bookmaker Sportingbet Australia said it would refund all bets laid on Botha.

Disgruntled fans took to social media pages to slam the bout as a sham, and demanded broadcasters refund the pay-per-view fees for the fight.

"If you work an 8-hour day tomorrow, work just six. If the boss asks you why, say it’s the SBW clause," one Twitter user said in a post.

Strydom said he would lodge a protest with the WBA. But Williams's manager, Khoder Nasser, said the South African camp's complaints were sour grapes.

"They're going to look for any excuse because they lost," Australian state broadcaster ABC quoted him as saying on its website.

"If there's a misunderstanding, there's a misunderstanding and I'm sure we'll deal with that with the WBA."

Williams, set to re-start his rugby league career in Australia after several years of playing rugby union, including a World Cup win with the All Blacks in 2011, had a clause in his New Zealand Rugby Union contract allowing him a set number of fights to pursue his boxing career.

But his six professional victories, coming against a string of ageing or unfit journeymen, have been slammed by established fighters and pundits as commercial ventures lacking credibility.


  • Rude.Boy.Shaka - 2013-02-09 10:32

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Earn 10 dollars per day / min for 5 minutes. EVERY DAY!

  • calliedj - 2013-02-09 10:35

    Tinus Strydom should stick to his property business.

      gert.swart.393 - 2013-02-09 13:20

      Botha did not know this because: 1. SBW's manager, nasser, said in an interview after the fight that the decision to shorten the fight was taken after Boatha "started to hit SBW behind the head."; 2. The Aussie boxing president, who was olso a judge at the fight, said they were never informed that the fight was shortened to 10 rounds, and when it was announced at the end of the 10th, it can as a huge surprise to them.

  • nico.eksteen.7 - 2013-02-09 10:43

    Well then he deserves his win. Finish en Klaar and Fransie should stop complaining. Must say I saw the fight last night and SBW looked the better boxer apart from at the very end when he was out on his feet. He was a clear winner on points to be fair.

      hentie.devries - 2013-02-09 11:10

      I'd go with that... if they agreed to the 10 rounds then it's Botha's bad luck that he couldn't get SB KO'd in time.

  • - 2013-02-09 11:00

    For vark steaks what's the fuss all about then? FB now looks like a bigger (pork) chop than when he adressed the crowd together with his coach who complained before all those people terug Witbank toe manne and it's gonna be a longggggggg journey...

      veritas.sublimare - 2013-02-10 11:54

      he doesn't live in witbank as far as I know , he lives in the USA

  • gavin.lott.9 - 2013-02-09 11:01

    If it was rigged surely the bookies would have known? I wanted a 12 round fight so in all fairness I think a rematch is in order. However SBW will not be let off this year as he's signed a year contract to league. Maybe next year when SBW is year wiser & old Botha is another year!

  • caleb.drumm.1 - 2013-02-09 11:58

    Im afraid this just highlights what bad sportsmen Saffas are, the dude lost fair and square within the boundaries of the fight that were agreed on before it started, now he is trying to cry conspiracy, because he lost, same old tune, different sport. So much trashtalk beforehand, so little follow through.

      brendon.greeff - 2013-02-09 14:31

      @Caleb; I agree with you to an extent, but surely you can't deny that there were a number of irregularities with the whole event? Don't you think there's something fishy about the whole saga? Why did they shorten the fight when it was advertised as a 12 round event and this was clarified to the bookies? That's grossly irresponsible and some sanctioning body needs to take action to prevent this type of disregard for the time, effort and money it takes various agencies to organise their books. As for trash talk, most boxers get involved in a bit of skulduggery before a fight, nothing new. I wouldn't be surprised if the whole thing was a set up and Botha picked up a heavy purse. He's a has been and probably needs the cash, why fight him in the first place?

      wayne.vandriel - 2013-02-10 01:10

      Agree 100% Brendon. In my opinion this whole thing was cooked, from all parties involved.

      Caleb - 2013-02-10 21:40

      Yes Brendon, i would have to agree with that. It does seem really fishy for sure, I just think respect should be given for an opponent, no matter what level they are at and Botha completely dismissed SBW as a chump, which he might be, but then what does this make Botha? It was a dodgy fight for sure but this does not actually make SBW a cheat as most people on here are claiming. The problem is SBW's manager Khoder Nasser. Wherever this guy goes, controversy follows. There is really something not quite legit with Nasser and i wouldnt be suprised if he was the guy behind the whole thing. Its good to hear that there will probably be a rematch no matter what happens.

  • sicelo.brukwe.9 - 2013-02-09 12:14

    And now why is Botha chunking if they agreed on this change, we need truth and not lies!!

  • abner.mophethe - 2013-02-09 12:28


  • noel.basson.1 - 2013-02-09 12:31

    Botha took the fight only for the pay check.....!!! Fighting a younger, fitter opponent, he lost the fight even before it began. BUT, give the man the respect he's needed. Nobody thought the fight would go 4 rounds, but the old man stuck out and in actual fact gave Sonny a boxing lesson. I doubt Sonny taking the ring very soon if ever again, without using rugby as an excuse, the old man taught him a thing or two. Sonny is a fighter and will never be a boxer. I feel the fight was rigged and defrauded all sports-lovers. Try advertising a Bok/All Black game at Loftus or Eden park and at the kickoff, changing it to ten minutes a side....!!! This was the same case in the Cooper fight, one could clearly see it was a mismatch from the word go.....!!! Yes Sonny, give Botha another go......!!! And as you step into the ring, we'll announce Bakkies replacing Francois.......!!!

      gavin.lott.9 - 2013-02-09 14:39

      SBW would knock Bakkies out! Bakkies only hits people from behind remember.

      wayne.vandriel - 2013-02-10 01:12

      Gavin, prediction for Etsebeth vs SBW fight? Should be interesting!

  • Shoosh - 2013-02-09 12:33

    Hope this now teaches all the grootbek anti SBW idiots who posted their stupid comments to rather keep quiet & let others THINK you are a fool than open your mouth & CONFIRM it. So typical of what bad sports so called SAFFA supporters are even making comparisons to Bryce Lawrence FFS get over it.

      corbin.alexander - 2013-02-10 00:00

      Well said. As a neutral sbw had the 1st 8 rounds and botha only stepped up in the 9th and 10th. And to all the anti sbw/all black fans who the ref shortened the fight cos sbw was in trouble just got proved wrong. Agreement before the fight. Typical SA mentality. Blame the ref when they lose

      karl.herrmann.161 - 2013-02-11 00:25

      Dude, you the friggen idiot. This match is sooooooooooooo rigged. And it's not a championship bout as it didn't go 12 the rounds as a sanctioned WBA title bout should. As I said to you before, the women box a 10 round title match. Is that what this fight was for then? I agree it's wrong to call SBW a cheat as he most probably was just a pawn in all of this. But to call him a champion would be pretty far fetched. And to Corbin: So many conflicting stories. You call yourself neutral yet you pick sides. You think the head judge of the bout is going to lie about not knowing the fight had been shortened? Pull your head buddy!

  • gert.swart.393 - 2013-02-09 13:19

    Botha did not know this because: 1. SBW's manager, nasser, said in an interview after the fight that the decision to shorten the fight was taken after Boatha "started to hit SBW behind the head."; 2. The Aussie boxing president, who was olso a judge at the fight, said they were never informed that the fight was shortened to 10 rounds, and when it was announced at the end of the 10th, it can as a huge surprise to them.

      niel.walt - 2013-02-09 13:29

      In other words they stopped the fight because buffel was taking cheap shots wich is essentially cheating.

  • clive.jeepman - 2013-02-09 13:20

    I Watched the Fight and let me Tell you that SBW was getting his Ass Kicked in the 9th & 10th round of the fight and the only thing that saved him was the referee constantly getting in between the 2 fighters and preventing Francois from knocking SBW down. He was already Out on his feet at that stage. At a stage he also stopped the fight to deduct 1 point from SBW for holding on, but this was a ruse in order to give SBW a rest ! The person who deserved to have points deducted for holding on was that Silly, Stupid Little referee ! I Think that the White Buffalo acquitted himself very well and he was robbed. .... but who knows maybe this is just Show Business and a Money Making Business ! It is so strange that everybody now suddenly knew that it was just a 10 Round Fight and Not the 12 Round Fight that it was Billed as .... also nobody thought it fit to inform the Public and the Ring Side Commentators ! I Smell a Rat !

      niel.walt - 2013-02-09 13:27

      Feel like we've read this comment a million times.

  • Jesus - 2013-02-09 14:19

    I don't think Sonny Bill will box again. He has a World Cup medal, world championship boxer, next step world champs in rugby league and then world champs at 7's at the Olympics..

      gavin.lott.9 - 2013-02-09 14:42

      Is it really you? - 2013-02-09 15:36

      Naa Hollywood the new Bond.

      Jesus - 2013-02-09 16:04

      It's all talk down in Australasia. That that is what he trying to achieve. Lets see if it happens

      wayne.vandriel - 2013-02-10 01:13

      Fact 1: Whatever happens, people will not easily forget SBW's name. Fact 2: You are not who you say you are!

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