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Boxing | South Africa

Sonny Bill Williams and Francois Botha © Gallo Images

WBA could erase Botha's defeat



The result of the heavyweight bout between Francois Botha and Sonny Bill Williams could still be declared null and void.

The WBA may also order a rematch between the South African veteran and the New Zealand novice after their controversial clash in Brisbane on Friday.

Williams won on points after just about everyone in the arena had been stunned by an announcement that the fight would end after ten rounds instead of the usual twelve for title bouts.

Australian Boxing Federation officials have not issued a formal statement but are likely to investigate the matter as soon as possible. Everything points to a huge embarrassment for the federation and the organisers of the tournament.

Williams has hinted that he is not too sure about boxing again. He is under contract to play rugby league for the Sydney Roosters from March, which could make it impossible for him to fight for most of the year.

But if the WBA order a rematch, he will be under pressure to face the “White Buffalo” again.

Williams was nearly out on his feet at the end of the tenth round after taking several hard blows from a desperate Botha, a former IBF champion.

Many ringsiders and television viewers felt Botha would have won had the bout continued as scheduled.

Botha, a South African who fought in his 61st bout as a professional, has already asked for a rematch, saying he felt he had won.

Two judges, Steve Moore and Adam Height, scored the bout 97-91 for Williams and the third, Alan Moore, made it 98-94 for the New Zealander. Most critics felt it was a fair reflection of the fight.

Whether Williams would have recovered quickly enough to survive for another two rounds, no one will ever know. Being extremely fit he may have been able to outrun Botha. But one more big blow may have convinced him to get out of boxing.

What is beyond doubt is that referee Tony Kettlewell was out of his depth.



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