Boxing: Botha offers to redo drug test

Francois Botha: 'I will have a drug test in South Africa and I will ask for the results in 24...
Francois Botha: 'I will have a drug test in South Africa and I will ask for the results in 24 hours, and then I will make it known to the world.' Photo Getty
Francois Botha has confirmed he underwent a drug test before fighting Sonny Bill Williams but disputed its validity and has offered to take another test to prove his innocence.

Williams' victory over Botha in Brisbane on Friday night has been tarnished by allegations of match-fixing and doping, with Botha reportedly failing a pre-fight test for performance-enhancing drugs.

The South African's urine sample reportedly contained traces of a banned stimulant and a banned sedative, but Botha yesterday categorically denied doping.

"Why would I go and do this crazy stuff?" he said on Campbell Live. "To go drink something that makes you sleepy, that you can't open your eyes, that lowers your blood pressure. What the hell is that?"

With boxers competing in the state of Queensland not required to be tested for performance-enhancing drugs, there was some doubt whether Botha was even subject to a test.

The 44-year-old did not dispute that he had a test but implied a family member of Khoder Nasser, Williams' manager, had tampered with his sample.

"The thing that bothers me about this whole thing, is that Khoder Nasser's brother or family member was the person who admitted the drug test," Botha said. "He took my sample."

Nasser laughed off that accusation on Campbell Live and said Botha was doing a "great job" of drumming up interest in the fight and a potential rematch.

"The pathology company is a very reputable pathology company in Australia. Francois has a history with these things and Francois has a history of turning words and scenarios around.

"If he wants to validate himself why doesn't he go get a reputable South African urine examination and come out with those papers? Why didn't he do that immediately?"

Botha said he would take Nasser up on his offer as soon as possible.

"I will have a drug test in South Africa and I will ask for the results in 24 hours, and then I will make it known to the world."

Meanwhile, Williams' next fight may not feature the 'pick the round' betting option, the TAB decided today.

Williams' unanimous points victory prompted a storm of controversy surrounding the length of the bout, with the scheduled 12 rounds cut to 10.

The TAB was forced to refund all 'pick the round' bets and, after meeting today, announced it would hold the right to remove the betting option on any future boxing matches.

"We'll have to take into account who's fighting, who's promoting, what's the title, what's the belt," said TAB head bookmaker Mark Stafford. "There's a lot of hearsay and speculation but, until we're presented with all the facts in front of us, we can't make a decision.

"By and large, boxing's fine. It's just when there's a few anomalies that could come up where we'll have to be proactive."

Those anomalies have cropped up in three of Williams' six professional fights, a track record Stafford agreed was "not good". But he said the TAB would be remiss to remove the option entirely, considered its popularity and the interest Williams continues to generate.

"You could argue he's probably one of our most popular sports people currently. He creates huge amounts of interest, and even if he was fighting again this weekend people would want to bet on it. So we've got to provide a product our customers want."

The new proviso will not be tested by Williams until the end of the year at the earliest, with his return to rugby league with the Sydney City Roosters taking precedence for now.

- Kris Shannon of APNZ

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