Francois Botha (L) takes on Sonny Bill Williams in their
heavyweight bout at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on
Friday. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Sonny Bill Williams' opponent Francois Botha failed a
drugs test before their controversial fight, it has been
Botha - a former heavyweight champion who claimed he did not
know his bout with Williams was set for 10 rounds - tested
positive for phentermine in his system.
The 44-year-old submitted a urine sample on Tuesday last
week, the Sydney Morning Herald said, and the test revealed
the presence of phentermine, a banned stimulant.
It also showed traces of benzodiazepine, a valium-type
product. The drug test had been forwarded to the WBA's
headquarters in Panama.
Australian National Boxing Federation committee member John
Hogg cast doubts on the report, telling Australia's News
Limited there were no compulsory drug tests required for
boxers in Queensland.
He had never heard of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping team
spot-testing fighters in the state.
"I would think I would have heard about ASADA testing Botha
or Sonny Bill because they have never showed up to boxing
gyms in Queensland or on fight night," Hogg told News
Witnesses who saw Botha in his dressing room before the fight
told the Sydney Morning Herald he was relaxed and lying on
the floor as Williams entered the ring first.
But when the fight got under way, he was alert and taunted
Williams, while trying to put him off his game with a series
of late shots.
Williams' manager Khoder Nasser told Firstline he wasn't
surprised with the alleged revelation.
"I wasn't really surprised, because I couldn't believe
someone had the fitness like that. He was still going after
getting punched and bruised so badly and he was still
A leading sports doctor told the Sydney Morning Herald that
phentermine and benzodiazepine has opposing effects.
"One puts you to sleep, one keeps you awake. Phentermine is
part of the go-fast group, as I call them, which is similar
category to all of the adrenalin amphetamines ... anything
that is a stimulant that keeps you awake and improves your
Before the drugs revelation, Nasser said Williams was
flattered by an approach from David Tua's camp - but a
rematch with Botha may be a more realistic prospect.
Williams tweeted he was willing to get back in the ring with
the South African boxer.
"After, God willing, having a good footy season Ill gladly
rematch Mr Botha. Even in South Africa," Williams wrote on
Williams' win over Botha in Brisbane was tarnished by
allegations of poor sportsmanship amid confusion surrounding
the length of the bout.
Nasser said both camps knew the fight was intended for 10
rounds, though that was contradicted by Williams in the
build-up to the bout.
"I think his last four or five fights went the distance,''
Williams said on Thursday. "He'll do 12 rounds pretty easy.''
That was reinforced at the pre-fight weigh-in where the
boxers' introduction was prefaced by the announcement the
fight was set for "12 times three-minute rounds''.
But Nasser insisted that Boxing Queensland dictated the bout
was set for 10 rounds. He said Botha knew this and his
protestations were for the promotion of the fight and
"The commission has said that both managers agreed it was 10
rounds before the fight,'' Nasser said.
"Francois Botha's an A-class promoter and I commend him. I
think he was great in every sense, and he was even greater
after the fight.
"He might be able to talk himself into a rematch. Though the
fight was totally one-sided, he's been doing a remarkable
Yesterday, Williams wrote on Twitter that Boxing Queensland
had acknowledged to both parties the fight was supposed to be
10 rounds. He also said he had received a congratulatory
phone call from the World Boxing Association.
Another possibility - albeit an unlikely one - is for
Williams to defend his New Zealand heavyweight championship
title against Tua.
Tua's promoter, David Higgins of Duco, told the Herald on
Sunday Williams should accept to restore credibility to the
Even an ageing Tua would prove a fierce challenge for the
former All Black.
Williams will have to wait until the conclusion of his
commitments with the Sydney Roosters, with the NRL season
taking priority until September.
Whether Williams will be allowed to fight again in Brisbane
remains to be seen. Boxing Queensland would not return calls
but an unnamed official told the Sunday Mail that crisis
talks would be held to curtail Nasser's future promotions.
- APNZ with nzherald.co.nz