Interview: Frans Botha

By Ray Wheatley – World of Boxing

Former IBF heavyweight champion Frans “White Buffalo” Botha (48-11-3, 29 KOs) spoke to Peter Maniatis about his great boxing career. Botha talks about failing a drug test after beating Axel Schulz for the world title, being ahead on points against both Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield before being stopped, underestimating Lennox Lewis and his bouts with Shannon Briggs, Wladimir Klitschko, Joseph Parker, Bob Mirovic and rugby star Sonny Bill Williams. Botha also reveals there will be a movie titled “White Buffalo” on his life to be made by Momentum Pictures.

On Axel Schulz…

“When I boxed Axel Schulz (for the IBF heavyweight title) I went into the fight with an injury to my right arm and I was using some medical prescriptions which had steroids and they got me.” (Botha won by split decision, but was later stripped of IBF title for failing the drug test)

On Mike Tyson…

“It was a great moment in my career when I boxed Mike Tyson. I knew I could beat him but the punch that he landed on me, Tiger Woods could not hit the golf ball better. (Botha won all the rounds on two judges cards at time of stoppage in round five.)

On Shannon Briggs…

“My fight with Shannon Briggs was a real Rocky Movie fight” (which resulted in a ten round draw)

On Lennox Lewis…

“The Lennox Lewis fight was a big disappointment in my career where I underestimated him and paid dearly for that. He knocked me out of the ring in the second round and by the time I struggled to get back into the ring they stopped the fight. Most of my fights I am competitive but that was a very disappointing fight.”

On Wladimir Klitschko…

“You will have to wait until the movie about the “White Buffalo” to come out about what happened when I boxed Klitschko. If I fought Mike Tyson or Lennox Lewis on the same night I fought Klitschko they probably would have stopped me in one round. It took him eight or nine rounds to get rid of me and I was a dead man. Right from the get-go I still got proof of everything. It was a big story. I wanted to pull out of the fight because of my illness. They would have sued me big money It will come out in the movie ‘White Buffalo.’”

On Evander Holyfield…

“Fighting Evander Holyfield was much easier. I was ahead in that fight (Botha was ahead on two judges scorecards at time of stoppage in round eight) The fight was in Vegas and at that stage, I had a lot of problems on my mind. It is a fight I could have won easily but he caught me and finished me.

On Bob Mirovic, Sonny Bill Williams, Joseph Parker…

“I remember fighting the (Australian) guy Bob Mirovic (in 2007 for WBF title). He is a fabulous guy. I really enjoyed that fight. I had a good time with Bob in South Africa. He really enjoyed it.

“Sonny Bill Williams is not a boxer. I don’t know why it was a big fight (in Australia). But he is a good rugby player. Tell him to stick to rugby. Boxing is not his game.

“Baby Joseph (Parker) is not a “Baby” no more. He is a good fighter with the right management. He was a young fighter who took a big stepping stone against a fighter like me but he did it and look where he is now.”

On the best fighter he ever boxed…

“The best fighter I boxed was Mike Tyson. We were friends and in the same camp for about five or six years. Mike always wanted to spar me but I said to him – do you think I want to give up my payday – once you spar me you will not want to fight me. At the end of the day we did meet and it was a great event. It is a fight I easily could have won. He has got the power and could knock you out in the last round. As I said, the punch he landed – Tiger Woods couldn’t land a golf ball better.

On his upcoming movie…

The movie the “White Buffalo” will be by Momentum pictures in Los Angeles and the budget I understand has been approved. I don’t know when they are going to start making the movie. Jeff Bridges will be starring. When I was younger I looked like Jeff Bridges. It’s going to be a good movie. It’s going to be the real life story of the ‘White Baffalo.’”

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  • How do you underestimate Lennox Lewis?? Botha figured by utilizing his vast array of skills and athletic ability that Lewis would be a walk in the park?

  • Botha reminded me of a pugilist from the early 1900s. Never had a six-pack nor did he win any body building contests, but he could bang. He had his moments as a boxer, but came up short on many occasions. Botha fought in an era where the heavyweight boxing talent was all over the board. That being said, most fights were great to watch as many fighters had potential to upset the champion in an upset.

      • I was gonna say the same thing!! If he had some power he and his grunting with every punch self would have went further

        • Botha had his moments and managed to compile nearly 60% KO record on his resume. When he faced the superstars of the sport, yes, he looked anemic to them when it came to power. However, I give Botha credit where credit is due. He had his moments and props to him for his efforts.

  • He could have easily beat Tyson?? How….by doing his double head-slap move more often? Delusional.

    • He was whooping tyson asd for 5 rounds until he ran into a punch. He was easily beating him. Did you see the fight ?

  • Botha is a big guy, with decent Boxing skills, that everyone expects to have a few good rounds at the beginning and slow down as the fight went on. It was no surprise he had some decent rounds against Tyson/Holy to get KO’ed later. Botha served as a journeyman to gauge the best in the division and help them get a solid win on record. He was willing to fight everyone and has a legacy to be proud of.

  • Jeff Bridges isn’t he like like 80ish they could have called up Eastwood.

  • This interview is weird.

    – Jeff Bridges is 70 years old. I don’t think he will be cast as a professional boxer 20 years younger than he is.

    – Why are all of the questions about fights he was losing?

    -“I injured my arm, so they gave me steroids.” I have only heard that excuse by boxers that fail drug tests. No other athletes claim that. Also, what steroids do they give people to heal injuries? I’ve had multiple surgeries and only have been prescribed anti-inflammatories and pain killers.

    – His win against Mike Hunter was a robbery

    • You obviously dont know what you are talking about. The point is: this man fought the best of an era of very talented brave fighters(unlike today!), and put on a great exciting performance doing so, even in loss!!

  • In remember him in K1 – knocked out by a shin to that steel jaw. Tough SOB classy bloke- South Africa produced some good white heavyweights – rememberer Cory Saunders – not sure they ever fought. Wish him all the best. Would love to see him come out of retirement and fight the winner of McGregor V Canelo or something like that.

  • I refuse to run this guy down, he has been in with some greats and got there for a reason. All the best with the movie.

  • I liked Botha. Very tough. Was not exceptionally fast or big. But had a sneaky right hand. Fought courageously.

  • Some of these comment are simply delusional. Will always remember Botha for the fight with Michael Grant. He (Botha) easily won 11 rounds, 2 minutes and 30 seconds and then got knocked out by a hay-maker.

  • Loved watching frans botha fight!! Never missed one if i could help it. Helluva warrior!

  • Agree with everyone paying respect to Botha. He fought everyone they put in front of him, had tough fights and gave his best.

  • Lots of people don’t say anything about the fight with sonny bill – he ate shots for 10 rds then started to fight – Sonny gassed and the promoter told the ref to stop the fight at rd 10. Some dicey stuff happens on Australian shows – Watch Danny Green V Paul Briggs if you want another example.

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