Francois Botha, hailing from Witbank, Mpumalanga, also nicknamed “The White Buffalo”, is a famous South African boxer. Botha is best known for triumphing against Axel Schulz the IBF World Heavyweight Championship title in Germany back in 1995, a title which he was later deprived of enjoying after testing positive for steroids. Botha has participated in numerous kickboxing and mixed martial arts events as well but is famous for his boxing.
Francois Botha has had a considerably distinguished career as a heavyweight boxer, having fought several world heavyweight champions including Mike Tyson, Shannon Briggs, Axel Schulz, Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko.
Botha had a remarkable victory in 1995 against Axel Schulz to gain the IBF heavyweight Championship but later tested positive for the steroid nandrolone. The result of the fight was then altered to a “No Contest” status and the IBF doesn’t recognise Botha as the former champion, though Botha was introduced as a former champ in every professional boxing contest he has competed in since.
1996 saw him eventually competing against Mike Tyson, Shannon Briggs, and heavyweight title face-offs with Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko. Botha, unfortunately, lost via knockout in both of those occasions for the heavyweight title.
Soon after the Klitschko fight, Botha fought against Clifford Etienne, and floored him twice, but was denied a victory and in Etienne’s hometown.
In July 2007, after competing in the kickboxing and mixed martial arts disciplines, Botha made a comeback to boxing with an undeniable victory over Bob Mirovic. Botha liberated the fight with two judges declaring that Botha won all twelve rounds. The fight was for the interim WBF World Heavyweight title.
On 6 February 2009, Botha defeated Ron “Rocky” Guerrero by an undivided decision for the free WBF heavyweight title in South Africa, and then successfully defended his WBF belt against Timo Hoffmann in May later that year, winning the fight via split decision.
On 10 January 2010, the WBF executive decided to vacate the WBF World Heavyweight Title because of Botha not defending within the agreed time limit.
Since then Botha won against previously undefeated South African prospect Flo Simba. He then lost to Michael Grant for the vacant WBF heavyweight title by knocking him out with a strong right hand from Grant with mere seconds remaining on the clock. Two fights later, Botha fought against Francesco Pianeta, who had been undefeated in twenty-nine fights, losing the 10 round fight on points.
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