By Alexey Sukachev
At 43, Francois "The White Buffalo" Botha can hardly experience something new in the ring, but that's exactly what happened moments ago at RWE Rhein-Ruhr Sporthalle in Muelheim, Germany. Botha, who once was the IBF world heavyweight champion for a short period before being stripped of the title for steroids, suffered all of his previous seven losses by way of knockout. It wasn't the case this time as he lost to Germany-based Italian Francesco Pianeta (27-0-1, 14 KOs) on points - for the first time in his career.
The fight itself was hardly a memorable one. Pianeta relied mostly on his jab and his relatively high workrate, while South African Botha tried to land accurate and hard punches. Pianeta, 27, was simply younger and thus much more active than his foe. Neither fighter was seriously hurt. At the end, referee Juergen Langos issued an astonishing 100-96 in a "ten-point must" fight. Olivier Brien saw it 99-92, and Frank Michael Maass scored the fight 97-93 - all in favor of the still undefeated Pianeta. Botha, a tiny shell of his former self drops down to 48-8-3, 29 KOs.
In the main undercard fight, hard-hitting female middleweight star Christina Hammer (13-0, 7 KOs) had little-to-no problems with Dominican Yahaira Hernandez. The Dominican was down once in the fourth, ninth and tenth rounds and was deducted points for holding in rounds 8 and 10. Hammer thus easily retained her WBO title with identically wide scores: 100-85 - on all the judges' scorecards.