Williams vs Botha controversy: Judges weren't told fight was 10 rounds, investigation 'likely'

Chris Hyde

Sonny Bill Williams' controversial win over Frans Botha is likely to be investigated by officials in Australia, according to a report.

Sonny Bill Williams came out of his fight with Frans Botha earlier today with a win, but fans watching the fight and the Botha corner came out with questions about what happened to the scheduled 11th and 12th rounds, as the fight ended after 10, with Williams winning by decision.

Now, a report from South Africa speculates that an investigation of the fight is likely, and says that the ringside judges had not been informed the fight was only going 10 rounds, adding to the cynical belief that Williams' team may have cut the fight short with their fighter in trouble in the ninth and 10th rounds.

A senior Australian official confirmed afterwards the judges had not been told the fight had been shortened to ten rounds. But no one seems to know whose call it was or whether the referee or the ring announcer had made a mistake.

Officials of the Australian Boxing Federation are likely to investigate and discuss the matter as soon as possible. Everything points to a huge embarrassment for the federation and the organisers of the tournament.

The WBA may even declare the result null and void and order a rematch, taking the title away from Williams, a New Zealand rugby international who was fighting in only his sixth professional bout.

Whatever happened here, it's a mess. Either officials assigned to the bout were completely incompetent, or something corrupt went down. Those are basically the only two options, and "incompetence or corruption" is too familiar a debate in boxing.

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