According to a report on ProBoxingInsider.com Sunday, Francois Botha failed a pre-fight drug test administered before he faced Sonny Bill Williams in Australia. The result was not a surprise to some, but may have created more questions than answers.
Just when it seemed things could not be more odd in the Williams victory over Botha this weekend, it was revealed on Saturday evening that Botha had failed a pre-fight drug test. The 44-year old submitted a urine sample on Tuesday of last week and the test showed the presence of phentermine, which is a banned stimulant.
In addition to phentermine, there were also traces of benzodiazepine, which is a valium-type product. The drug test has since been sent to WBA headquarters located in Panama.
John Hogg, a committee member of the Australian National Boxing Federation, has his doubts. He told Australia’s News Limited that there are no compulsory drug tests required for those who compete in Queensland. Furthermore, he had never heard of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping team spot-testing fighters in the state before.
“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 Limited.
According to those who were with Francois Botha before his bout with Williams, he was relaxed and lying on the floor as Williams made his way to the ring. However, once the fight began, he was alert, even taunting Williams.
The manager for Sonny Bill Williams, Khoder Nasser, told Firstline he wasn’t surprised by the alleged failed drug test.
“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 standing.”
A sports doctor, speaking with the Sydney Morning Herald, said that the drugs allegedly in the system of Francois Botha have opposite effects on the body.
“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 reflexes.”
Of course all this only adds more controversy to a fight already surrounded by it. Botha claims he was never informed the fight was being shortened from twelve rounds to ten. Nasser claims that both sides were aware of the length of the bout. However, this was contradicted by Sonny Bill Williams in the fight’s build-up.