9 Feb 2013

TAB refunds bets after controversial fight

6:01 pm on 9 February 2013

The New Zealand bookmaker the TAB has refunded some bets on Sonny Bill Williams' controversial boxing win, and criticised the former All Black for his track record of shortened bouts.

A unanimous points decision gave Williams victory last night over South African veteran Francois Botha, however the fight, which was scheduled for 12 rounds, was mysteriously stopped after 10.

Williams, who copped a battering in the final round, tweeted on Saturday that both camps knew it was a 10-round affair.

Botha disagreed and the 44-year-old is expected to protest the result with the WBA, saying Williams would be a "coward" if he does not accept a rematch.

There has been no official explanation for the early ending.

When pressed on Friday night after an angry Botha reluctantly retired to the dressing room, Williams' manager Khoder Nasser hinted that they cut it short after the big South African delivered several blows to the back of his client's head.

The TAB says it was stung by the early end to the fight.

It says this is the third time it's been caught out by a Williams fight which didn't go the full distance.

Twice before, Williams had scheduled eight-round fights but they had stopped at six.

The Australian newspaper reported that Australian National Boxing Federation vice-president Alan Moore, a ringside judge for the bout, had no idea it had been shortened to 10 rounds.

Moore says the judges first discovered the bout had been shortened when the ring announcer said over the loud speaker that it was the last round.