SBW's manager scoffs at bribe allegation

BRAD WALTER AND FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 12:18 13/02/2013
sbw std
PAUL HARRIS
SONNY BILL WILLIAMS: Won the ten-round fight against Francois Botha.
Francois Botha
FRANCOIS BOTHA: The South African boxer alleges Sonny Bill Williams' manager Khoder Nasser attempted to bribe him.
Khoder Nasser
KHODER NASSER: ''If it [the attempt to bribe] happened like he said, why didn't he come out and report it then - or does it suit him now?''

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Khoder Nasser has scoffed at Francois Botha's allegation that he was offered $A150,000 to throw his boxing fight with Sonny Bill Williams on Friday night and insists it is a result of ''sour grapes''.

Botha alleges he was offered the bribe by Nasser, Williams' manager, after being picked up from his hotel last Tuesday and taken to a park.

During the walk in the park, Nasser offered him the money to lose the fight, Botha alleged on RadioLive this morning.

Williams won the fight in Brisbane in controversial circumstances. He was awarded a points decision but the fight was stopped after 10 rounds, despite being promoted as 12-rounds.

''I got a call on the Tuesday evening, right after the drug testing,'' Botha told Live Sport from South Africa this morning. ''They said I was being picked up and I had to be alone.

''So they picked me up - and I told my trainer where I'm going - and they drove me and as we stopped at the park my cellphone was confiscated and given to the guy in the car.

''I was being walked and during this walk I was made an offer, at that stage, of $150,000 to throw the fight.

''I wasn't supposed to win. Everything was against me ... drug testing, 12 rounds ...''

Botha says he told a close friend of the approach when he returned to his hotel after the meeting.

Nasser strenuously rejected Botha's story.

''I think he is still in a daze,'' Nasser said this morning.

''This is the same bloke who said he didn't know about the fight being 10 rounds, and then his promoter and he himself came out later and said it was 10 rounds.

''Then he said he wasn't drugs tested and then he said he was tested, then he said he was tested by my brother, and now he has come up with this one. What is next?

''The fact the media is loving this sore loser must be unprecedented, the media is siding with a guy who has got sour grapes.

''He has got to come to terms with the reality that he got his ass whipped by a guy who had had only five fights.

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''It is all well and good to come out with all these allegations after, but where's his manhood? Why wasn't it brought out the day before. It's absolute madness.

''If it happened like he said, why didn't he come out and report it then - or does it suit him now?''

Botha's manager Howard Goldberg claimed the fighter told him about the offer when he returned to their hotel.

Goldberg could not confirm it was Nasser that made the offer but was satisfied an approach was made.

"He told me what had been offered, and told me the amount."

The bout was billed as a WBA international heavyweight fight. It was expected to go 12 rounds but was just 10 rounds - much to the chagrin of Botha, who said he planned to stop Williams in the 11th or 12th rounds.

Williams said he and Botha knew that their bout was scheduled for 10 rounds - and he has since been backed by Botha's promoter Thinus Strydon.

''They both knew that their fight, which was billed as a 12- rounder at their weigh-in on Friday, was actually a 10- rounder,'' Strydom told Sportlive in South Africa.

''The promoter negotiated with the WBA for the international belt, and it was agreed, but the promoter did not change Botha's contract from 10 to 12 rounds.

''Five minutes before Francois entered the ring, the fight supervisor came to me and said the contract says 10 rounds and he said it will be a 10-rounder. I never told Francois that because he knew it.''

THE DRUG TEST

As for reports this week that Botha failed a drugs test on the eve of the fight, the South African claims he had another test on his arrival back in South Africa and passed.

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported the 44-year-old submitted a urine sample last Tuesday which indicated the presence of phentermine, a banned stimulant.

But Botha reckons the test was conducted by a relative of Nasser's.

''This was done by Khoder Nasser's brother or his nephew, somebody like that - a relation to him,'' he told Live Sport.

''They called me on the Tuesday, I did the drug testing in the morning and the way I went and did the drugs testing it was suspicious probably because it was a small room.

''I did the urine and I've done other drugs test in my career and you usually do sample A and sample B. It gets sealed.... the same with the blood. This wasn't done, I only did one test and the blood was not regulated.

''As far as I know only the Boxing Commission of Australia can do this test and it wasn't done by the Boxing Commission of Australia.''

Botha said he was ''set up right from the beginning''.

''They would have thought I'm way past my prime, I'm going downhill, but when they saw me and saw I was in better shape they thought 'OK, this is maybe a risk we are taking'.''

Botha claimed he was meeting with a World Boxing Association representative tomorrow in an attempt to get the fight declared a no contest.

- Fairfax Media

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