The referee of the Sonny Bill Williams-Frans Botha boxing bout says he was told about an alleged bribe offer before the fight.
The referee at the centre of the controversial Sonny Bill Williams-Frans Botha boxing bout has revealed he was told about an alleged bribe offer before the fight took place.
Williams defeated Botha on points to claim the WBA international heavyweight title in Brisbane on Saturday, a result which was initially questioned due to the late change in distance from 12 rounds to 10, although this proved only the start of the post-fight drama.
Botha has since alleged that he was offered $150,000 by Williams' manager Khoder Nasser to throw the contest.
Boxing official Tony Kettlewell says former IBF world lightweight champion Philip Holiday, an assistant in Botha's team, told him earlier on Saturday night that money had been offered to the South African boxer to deliberately lose the fight.
"Philip just said he (Botha) was offered so much money to throw the fight and he refused to," Kettlewell told AAP.
"He didn't say how much money.
"He said (Botha said) 'no way in the world I'm going to lay down. I'm here to fight'."
Initially, Kettlewell shrugged off the incident and there has been no suggestion that he as referee, or the judges, were culpable of any wrongdoing.
"To me, it was hearsay. I spoke to (judge and Queensland National Boxing Federation official) Steve Marshall about it, just to let him know," Kettlewell added.
"I didn't get a chance to speak to any other official about it because we were busy on the night.
"I did my job properly. The WBA is well within their rules to reduce the fight to 10 rounds."
When informed about Kettlewell's comments, Nasser questioned why the issue has been brought up by the official five days after the fight.
"If this was the case, he shouldn't have let the fight go ahead," said Nasser, who has denied Botha's claim.
"Why is he saying it now? It's a week later."
There is no suggestion that Williams was aware of the alleged offer.
Kettlewell said he will raise all the issues with officials at a QNBF meeting on February 28.
He added it was the first time in 44 years in boxing as a fighter, trainer and official that he has been aware of a possible corruption in the sport.
The referee also believes the many contentious issues that arose from the contest could have been avoided if an official from the World Boxing Association was present.
Asked if he would have informed a WBA representative of the allegation, Kettlewell said "most definitely".
"We don't get to say whether a WBA official is there," Kettlewell said.
"I was very surprised there wasn't. It was supposed to be a sanctioned fight."Tags: Francois Botha , Sonny Bill Williams