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Sonny Bill Williams' title belt not officially WBA sanctioned - Pan Asian Boxing Association

Saturday 9 Feb 2013 5:38 p.m.

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By 3 News online staff

Claims have been made that the WBA title belt won by Sonny Bill Williams in Brisbane last night is not a WBA sanctioned belt.

According to Brad Vocale from the WBA Pan Asian Boxing Association, the belt was made by a member of the Queensland branch of the Boxing Federation.

Speaking to Fox Sports News, Vocale doubts the belt Williams was presented with after his win was sanctioned by the WBA.

“I haven’t confirmed this at all – the championship belt put around Sonny Bill Williams’ waist last night was not in fact a genuine WBA Championship belt,” Vocale says. “In fact it was made by a member of the Queensland branch of the Boxing Federation.

“This thing has happened before with the same promoters and the same regulatory body,” Vocale adds.

Vocale says he is now worried about the state of boxing in Australia and says there was no WBA official at the fight.

“I despise the fact it’s given a black eye to boxing again,” Vocale says.

“There was certainly no WBA official there last night.

“In my view they’ve defrauded the fight-paying public of Australia.”

Controversy over the fight erupted when it was cut short from 12 rounds to 10.

At that stage of the fight, Williams was out on his feet. He was forced to hang on to his opponent, and many watching the fight feel he would not last another round, let alone two.

On-air commentators, the TAB, pay-per-view customers and media throughout the world were astounded when the scheduled 12-round fight was stopped at the end of the 10th round.

Even the on-air graphics heralded the fight as being 12 rounds of three minutes.

Commentary on the broadcast also said prior to the fight: “Twelve rounds is the journey”.

"I thought it was going for 10, just like the New Zealand title I fought for," Williams reportedly said after the fight.

"Our whole preparation was for 10 rounds.

"I pride myself on doing everything above board. I don’t have a bad bone in my body.”

Botha’s promoter Thinus Strydon has since come out saying he chose not to tell his boxer the fight was more than 10 rounds, but they did agree on the day of the fight to the distance being 10 rounds, according to The Courier-Mail.

But Botha claims he did not know this.

"It's bulls**t,” he says. “You can't do it. There are rules and regulations. It was in the press conference, on the programmes – a WBA 12-round international fight. You cannot change it.

“I’m very much disappointed. I prepared myself for 12 rounds,” Botha tells RadioLIVE. 

“Last night I was chopping trees, every round I’m chopping him down y’know, saving myself for the last three rounds, building it up and always finishing strong.”

If it was as Strydon says and Botha did not know, then the promoter has made a very big error in judgement.

Botha is adamant that the referee, Tony Kettlewell, also told him that the fight was 12 rounds.

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