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Boxing | South Africa

Francois Botha © Gallo Images

Botha wants Sonny Bill to play rugby

Francois Botha has warned Sonny Bill Williams to spend more time on the rugby field and less in the boxing ring.

The South African veteran and the All Black midfielder are scheduled to meet in Brisbane, Australia, on February 8. The winner will become the WBA International heavyweight champion.

Botha is a former IBF champion and Williams holds the New Zealand heavyweight title.

"Sonny Bill is a master of the offload [in rugby] but the difference is that he offloads balls whereas I offload punches," Botha said on Tuesday.

Known as the White Buffalo, Botha has fought the likes of Evander Holyfield, Wladimir Klitschko and Lennox Lewis. Now 44 years old, he has lost 9kg in the past month, according to his promoters.

"I'm not a rugby player but I love rugby, and once this bout is over, rugby fans will be relieved to know Williams will not return to the ring," Botha said.

"I know the All Blacks are popular in South Africa and the fans would rather see him at his best on a rugby field.

"His rugby league skills have worked wonders for the All Blacks and I think he's wasted in a boxing ring. I'd enjoy seeing him display his skills against the Springboks rather than try to box against a Buffalo."

Botha is excited about the prospect of more big pay days provided he beats Williams. “The WBA International title will be on the line, and that belt could propel me into the big time," he said.

"I've been there before but this time I'm far better prepared. I'm going to teach Sonny Bill a thing or two."


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