The much anticipated heavyweight boxing title fight between rugby superstar Sonny Bill Williams and former world title holder Francois Botha ended in a farce in Brisbane yesterday with many fans believing the fight was fixed.
Although the fight was billed as a 12 rounder, the referee bizarrely announced that the 10th round was the final round – at a time when Botha, known as the White Buffalo, was starting to get on top of the rugby World Cup winner, Sonny Bill Williams.
Williams, who is also the New Zealand heavyweight boxing Champ, boxed well in the opening rounds, displaying a more than useful jab. However, the Buffalo absorbed everything Williams had to offer, often taunting the youngster and laughing at him when Williams scored with a jab.
Many pundits thought that the Buffalo would need to score an early knock out as Williams’ superior fitness would help him in the later rounds when the older Botha was expected to tire.
However, Botha displayed his experience gained by fighting the best boxers in his generation like Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield.
The Buffalo got stronger as the fight progressed and it became clear his game plan was to let Sonny Bill punch himself out and then the Buffalo would close in for the kill in the latter rounds of the fight.
In round 9, the Buffalo began to land punches and had Sonny Bill against the ropes in survival mode. Then, strangely the referee announced that Round 10 was the final round.
Sonny Bill hung on for dear life in the final round and staggered back to his corner at the end of the round.
Botha and the spectators were disgusted with the outcome of the fight.
In the post fight interview the White Buffalo had this to say: “I love Sonny Bill, I think he’s a great guy, a gentleman, but this was bullshit. I won this fight”.
There are already rumours making the rounds about a rematch that could take place in Cape Town.
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