x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

New controversy as Francois Botha claims he was offered bribe to throw fight against Sonny Bill Williams

The veteran South African, who lost the fight for the vacant WBA international heavyweight title last weekend, says he was offered money to throw the bout against the former All Blacks World Cup winner.

Francois Botha and Sonny Bill Williams exchange blows during their WBA heavyweight title fight in Brisbane.
Francois Botha and Sonny Bill Williams exchange blows during their WBA heavyweight title fight in Brisbane.

Sonny Bill Williams' boxing bout against Francois Botha was shrouded in more controversy today after the South African veteran claims he was offered money to throw the fight.

The heavyweight, who was defeated by Botha on points in Brisbane last Friday, says he was offered AU$150,000 (Dh569,800) by Khoder Nasser, Williams' manager, to throw the WBA International heavyweight title fight against the former World Cup winning All Blacks player.

The claim has been denied by Naser, but it has cast another shadow on an already troubled fight.

The bout went only 10 rounds, despite earlier promotions saying it was a 12-round contest, while afterwards were unsubstantiated reports that Botha had failed a drugs test for benzodiazepine. Doubts have also been raised about whether the WBA actually sanctioned the bout, with no WBA official present in Brisbane for the fight.

The 44-year-old told a radio interview that Nasser offered him money in a Brisbane park three days before the World Boxing Association fight, claiming he received a phone call asking to pick him up alone.

"I wasn't told where I was going," Botha told New Zealand's Radio LiveSport.

"As we stopped at a park, my cellphone was confiscated and was given to a guy in the car.

"Then I was being walked (by Nasser), and during this walk, I was offered $150,000 to throw the fight.

"I just said 'no, I can't do it'."

There is no suggestion that Williams was aware of the alleged offer.

Nasser slammed the 23-year veteran as a bad loser.

"I think he is still in a daze," Nasser told journalists. "This is the same bloke who said he didn't know about the fight being 10 rounds, and then his promoter and he himself came out later and said it was 10 rounds.

"Then he said he wasn't drugs tested and then he said he was tested. Then he said he was tested by my brother, and now he has come up with this one. What is next?

"He has got to come to terms with the reality that he got whipped by a guy who had had only five fights.

"It is all well and good to come out with all these allegations after, but where's his manhood? It's absolute madness.

"If it happened like he said, why didn't he come out and report it then — or does it suit him now?"

While Williams won the fight, he was on the receiving end of some heavy blows from Botha in the 10th round with the South African saying another two rounds would have been enough to secure him victory.

Bookmakers refunded bets on Williams's win due to the controversy over how long the fight was supposed to be.

sports@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE