Botha chases unique heavyweight record

2011-10-15 15:06

A gigantic American – Michael Grant – stands like a fortress between the equally colossal Francois “White Buffalo” Botha and history.

So the local will need sophisticated ammunition to demolish Grant at Montecasino on November 19, and to become the first local to win three world heavyweight crowns.

The combatants meet in a Showpony Promotions event staged by Damian “Advent” Michael, a new kid on the block.

Only three South Africans, Botha, Gerrie Coetzee and Corrie Sanders became champions in the most coveted and ultimate division, heavyweight.

Botha wore the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Federation (WBF) belts when beating Axel Schulz in 1995 and Timo Hoffman in 2009. The South African tested positive for steroids shortly after the fight against Schulz and was stripped of the IBF title.

Botha surrendered the WBF crown against the legendary Evander Holyfield in last year.

Sanders initially snatched the least-regarded World Boxing Union crown against Alfred Cole in 2000.

The South African vacated it and went on to seize the World Boxing Organisation title against Wladimir Klitschko in 2003.

Sanders subsequently gave it up against Wladimir’s vanquished brother, Vitali, the following year.

Coetzee was the first fighter from Mzansi to win the desired diadem, causing a great upset in 1983 when he beat Michael Dokes for the World Boxing Association title.

Coetzee lost the crown in his first defence against classy Greg Page 15 months later.

Should Botha beat Grant, he will surpass compatriot and two-time champion Sanders, becoming a world kingpin for the third time.

To become the most distinguished local heavyweight, Botha (43) will need to be at his most fire-spitting when tackling Grant, who is four years his junior.

At his best, Grant, a veteran of 51 wars is unstoppable, and 47 wins (35 knockouts) and only four defeats attest to that.

Grant has faced the best around, including Lennox Lewis, Sanders, Andrew Golota, Ross Purity and Mike Dixon.
There will be four additional WBF title fights at Montecasino.

In the main supporting bout, Eastern Cape fighters – Ali Funeka and Zolani Marali meet for the junior welterweight title.

Whirlwind Malcolm Klassen tackles Mexican Rafael Guzma for the junior lightweight crown.

Congo’s Ilunga Makabu and Brazilian Pedro Otas entangle for the junior heavyweight diadem.

Lubabalo Msutu confronts Filipino Dennis Tubieron for the bantamweight title.

And Gerry Nekhubu and Mthobisi Buthelezi complete the bill in a WBF African welterweight title fight.

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