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Botha claims bribe offered

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

WELLINGTON - Francois Botha says he was offered $A150,000 ($F273.670) to throw his controversial heavyweight boxing fight against New Zealander Sonny Bill Williams.

South African veteran Botha said Williams' manager Khoder Nasser had offered him the sum in a Brisbane park on Tuesday last week, three days before the supposed World Boxing Association (WBA) title fight which Williams won on points.

Botha, 44, told New Zealand's Radio LiveSport from Durban that he received a phone call from Nasser asking him to be picked up but to be alone.

"I wasn't told where I was going. As we stopped at a park, my cellphone was confiscated and was given to a guy in the car," Botha said.

"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'."

Botha confided in a close friend when he returned to his hotel and they decided then to take the matter no further.

"He could clearly see I was very upset. He told me 'Francois, if you are even thinking about doing this, I'm going to get on the plane and go back to South Africa'."

The fight has been mired in controversy, most notably over the length of the fight, which was completed after 10 rounds.

Both sides have disputed what they understood the length of the fight should be, with Botha still adamant he had prepared for a 12-round affair.

He finished strongly and says another two rounds would have been enough to secure victory over tiring former All Black Williams.

The South African is also dismayed by reports he had failed a pre-fight drug test, which reportedly revealed the presence of a banned stimulant.

Nasser said the testing process was credible, which Botha disputes.

He said he had been drug tested upon return to South Africa and the results were "all clear".

Doubts have also been raised about whether the WBA actually sanctioned the bout, and if Williams' claim on the title is legitimate. There was no WBA official present in Brisbane for the fight.





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