‘White Buffalo’ to face All Black in boxing ring

2012-10-24 08:19

The Springboks might have received a serious “klap” from age-old rivals, the All Blacks, during this year’s Rugby Championship but one South African plans to restore the country’s dignity by facing a New Zealand rugby player in the boxing ring.

Francois “White Buffalo” Botha will take on All Black off-load maestro-turned-boxing-champ Sonny Bill Williams (27) in a 10-round boxing bout in Australia.

The fight is scheduled to take place on November 24 at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, more than 10 000 km away, since organisers could not secure sponsors for the event to take place in South Africa.

While the fight can be viewed through Australian and New Zealand television networks, it will not be aired in South Africa.

The Witbank-born Botha (44) has two decades of boxing behind him and has clocked up a staggering 363 rounds in the ring on paid ranks.

He has gone up against boxing greats such as Mike Tyson, Shannon Briggs, Evander Holyfield and Axel Schulz.
He won the IBF world heavyweight crown in 1995.

Williams’ claim to fame is winning the New Zealand heavyweight title with a first-round knockout early this year.

Speaking at a media briefing held at the Sibiya Casino in Durban yesterday, Botha said a veteran could still teach the youngsters a lesson.

“I recently fought a 21-year-old who could have been my son. I destroyed his career. He [Williams] is in for a rude awakening. He has never been hit like he will be hit,” bragged the “white buffalo”.

He said the fact that Williams was a popular rugby player sweetened the deal.

“I was interested in attracting fans of the two sports. I will give it a few rounds just to give people their money’s worth,” Botha joked, implying a knock-out.

Sending a message from Japan where he is with the All Blacks, Williams said he was ready to fight.

“He sees me as a rugby player and that will be a mistake on the night,” Williams said.

Explaining why the fight won’t be televised in South Africa, Thinus Strydom of World Sport Promotions, the event’s organisers, said: “As you know the SABC has no money. They wanted us to pay for the production and unfortunately this is not a charity. And M-Net is exclusively linked to our opposition.”

Fans of the “White Buffalo” will get an opportunity to wish him luck during a meet-and-greet session on November 14, also at Sibaya. The provincial rugby team, the Sharks, will also be there to show support.

» The fight will not be aired on South African television but it will be streamed live through SkyRoomLive.com. It will be shown on Fox TV in Australia and on Sky TV in New Zealand.

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