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SBW survives Botha test, but controversy reigns

Published: 1:12AM Saturday February 09, 2013 Source: ONE Sport

Sonny Bill Williams experienced a coming of age as a boxer, beating South African veteran Francois Botha in a unanimous points decision, but it was not without controversy.

Williams emerged from the fight victorious, with the judges scoring the fight 97-91, 98-94 and 97-91 after producing the most complete performance of his boxing career to take his record to 6-0.

The former All Black used his reach and speed to keep out 44-year-old Botha (48-9) for the majority of the fight, utilising the jab well and showing good footwork to stay ahead on the scorecards.

However confusion reigned heading into the 10th round when the referee announced that would be the final round, despite the fight having been originally scheduled for 12 rounds.

Knowing he needed a knockout to win, the experienced and powerful Botha launched everything he had at Williams, as the 27-year-old spent the entire round holding on for dear life as he struggled to stay off the canvas.

There has been no official explanation as yet for the reduction in the number of rounds and Botha and his team were visibly upset at the result following the fight.

It looks set to take the shine off what was easily Williams' finest performance in the ring as he showed, he may have what it takes to become a player in the heavyweight division.

Williams' focus will now shift to rugby league as he gets set to make his return to the NRL with the Sydney Roosters.

Earlier in the night, Wallabies playmaker Quade Cooper got his boxing career off to an ideal start as he hammered Barry Dunnett  with a first round KO.