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Botha doping report questioned

2013-02-10 18:23
Francois Botha (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Severe doubts have been cast on South African heavyweight boxer Francois Botha's reported positive test to a banned substance before his WBA title fight against former All Black rugby star Sonny Bill Williams on Friday. 

Media reports emanating from Australia and New Zealand claimed on Sunday that Botha, 44, failed a drugs test on the eve of the fight. It stated that results of a urine sample submitted by Botha in Brisbane last Tuesday under WBA regulations show he had Phentermine - a banned stimulant - in his system.

The drugs test, which has reportedly been forwarded to the WBA's global headquarters in Panama, also detected Benzodiazepine, which suggested Botha was also using a valium-type product.

GALLERY: Sonny Bill Williams v Francois Botha

VIDEO: Sonny Bill Williams v Francois Botha - highlights

However, according to Australia's Herald Sun website, the reports may be false.

Australian National Boxing Federation (ANBF) committee member John Hogg said it would be "bizarre" if Botha was even tested, let alone did so knowing he would fail.

Hogg is the ANBF Queensland representative and was the man who sent Botha for his full medical last week.

Hogg said there were no compulsory performance enhancing drugs tests required for boxers in Queensland and he had never heard of Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) spot-testing professional boxers in Queensland.

An ASADA spokesperson said the body was not in a position to make a formal comment on the issue but typically boxing title fights fell out of their jurisdiction.

The fight was marred in controversy when it ended with Williams receiving a unanimous points decision. But it ended after 10 rounds, instead of 12, as per WBA rules and as had been advertised.

Botha was furious with officials after the decision was made to shorten the bout, with the 44-year-old looking to have worn out Williams by the end of the 10th."You know I love Sonny Bill, I think he's a great guy, a gentleman, but this was bullshit," the 115kg "White Buffalo" said in an interview after the fight.

Botha also said he wanted a rematch against the New Zealand heavyweight champion. "A rematch - if he can beat me he can go on, but if he doesn't he should throw in the towel."

It was not reported which body tested Botha and how the results were returned in five days.

There was no WBA official at the fight. "I sent Frans for a complete medical which tested him for hepatitis and AIDS etc but that is the only testing required of professional boxers," Hogg told The Courier-Mail. "I have never heard of ASADA spot-testing professional boxers in Queensland.

"I would think I would have heard about ASADA testing Botha or Sonny Bill because they have never showed up to boxing gyms in Queensland or on fight night.

"Tests for performance enhancing drugs are not compulsory in Queensland.''

Williams's manager, Khoder Nasser, was the promoter of the fight night land did not respond to requests for comment on the doping claim against Botha.

Hogg said Nasser could have asked Botha to submit to further testing. "But Frans could also rightly refuse,'' he said. "Then again, what is the point of testing a fighter on a Tuesday if you only get the result after the fight.

"The only way he would have been tested is if Nasser made him but then which body would Nasser have got to do it?"

Hogg also rubbished Botha's claims that he thought the fight was meant to last 12 rounds.

"It was agreed to 10 before the fight and both camps knew it," Hogg said. "I knew about it being reduced to 10 and so did all the officials and ring staff.

"For Botha to suggest he thought it was 12 is ridiculous."


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