South African heavyweight boxer Francois Botha is a devoted rugby lover and he treasures his country's traditional ties with New Zealand's All Blacks.
Botha said on Tuesday that his February 8 World Boxing Association (WBA) international bout against offload maestro Sonny Bill Williams in Brisbane will go a long way to winning the admiration of All Black fans both in New Zealand and South Africa.
"Sonny Bill's a master of the offload but the difference is that he offloads balls whereas I offload punches," said Botha, who has lost nine kilos in the past month as he prepares to ressurrect his career at the expense of the New Zealand heavyweight champion Williams, who is a dual rugby league and union international.
"I'm not a rugby player but I love rugby and once this bout this over rugby fans will be relieved that Williams will not return to the ring. I know the All Blacks are very popular in South Africa and the fans would rather see him at his best on a rugby field.
"His rugby league skills has worked wonders for All Blacks rugby and I think he's wasted in a boxing ring. I'd rather enjoy seeing him display his silky skills against the Springboks, rather than try to box against a Buffalo."
Botha, who has already fought some of modern-day boxing biggest names like Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield is excited about the prospects of more big pay days in the future, once he's disposed of Williams.
"The WBA International title will be on the line, and once you wear that belt it could propel you into the big time," said Botha. "I've been there before but this time I'm far better prepared. I'm going to teach Sonny Bill a thing or two.
"There's only two weeks left before a I fly out to Brisbane, and will arrive there seven days before the fight."
Botha feels that the likes of Rugby World Cup winner Sonny Bill and Wallaby flyhalf Quade Cooper are best off working on their rugby careers rather than looking for fame in the boxing ring.
"New Zealand and Australia are not known as boxing powerhouses, unlike South Africa who have produced many world champs over the years," said Botha. "These guys have little idea of what's in store for them on February 8 in Brisbane but I'm sure the boxing fans will enjoy the bouts."
The undefeated Williams with five wins from as many bouts is a greenhorn compared to the 'White Buffalo' who is a veteran of 60 bouts, one of which ended in a world title victory in 1995 when he defeated German Axel Schulz for the IBF crown. Botha has won 48 bouts and has drawn three.
Meanwhile, Botha's promoter Thinus Strydom of World Sport Promotions, is flying out on Saturday to Brisbane to round off preparations for the February 8 showpiece. The record high temperatures in the Brisbane region is weighing heavily on his mind, given that the situation will be compounded by additional heat from the lighting required for television purposes.
"My contacts in Brisbane tell me that intense heat has been experienced there and it is likely to persist for a couple of weeks," said Strydom. "Botha doesn't seem to be concerned about the heat factor because it's nearly as hot and humid in Durban where he is training.
"But with the TV lights on, the ring could be turned into a sauna and it could result in a real energy-sapping experience venture."
The fight at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Boondall, Queensland, Australia, will be shown on SkyRoomLive.com, South Africa's most popular live-streaming Internet portal.
Tags: Francois Botha , Sonny Bill Williams