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Boxing controversy

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Monday, February 11, 2013

SYDNEY - WBA Oceania representative Brad Vocale has lashed out at the organisers of Sonny Bill Williams' so-called title fight, saying they have "defrauded" the Australian public.

The legitimacy of what was purported to be a WBA international heavyweight title fight between the former All Black star and South African veteran Francois Botha was thrown into extreme doubt on Friday night.

Williams defeated Botha in a unanimous points decision in Brisbane, but the fight ended after 10 rounds, instead of 12 as per WBA rules and as had been advertised.

Bookmakers refunded bets on Williams's controversial win and 44-year-old Botha has challenged the rugby star to a rematch.

"In my view, they defrauded the fight-paying public of Australia," Vocale told Fox Sports on Saturday.

"This fight was advertised as a WBA international fight, I had my doubts as to whether it actually was really sanctioned by the WBA.

"Francois Botha has got just right to feel aggrieved, simply because he would have signed a contract stating a 12-round fight.

"Sadly boxing has been given a black eye again."

Vocale said the idea of Williams, a boxing novice with just five fights under his belt, battling Botha, a fighter well past his best, made a mockery of the WBA title.

"Sonny Bill is not even rated in the Australian ratings. He's never fought 10 rounds. That doesn't qualify him to fight for a WBA title," he said.

"Botha, in his last six professional fights has won one. But all of a sudden they're fighting for a vacant title.

"The WBA international championship is a prestigious and quality title. The guys who fight for the title are rated.


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