Australian National Boxing Federation (ANBF) member John Hogg has dismissed claims the decision to cut short Sonny Bill Williams’ controversial bout with Frans Botha from 12 rounds to 10 was made after the fight started.
However, the legitimacy to make WBA international heavyweight fight a 10 round bout instead of the traditional 12 remains unclear.
Williams out-pointed Botha via unanimous over 10 rounds on Friday night in Brisbane, Australia despite Williams taking a pounding in the 10th round.
The fight, which was advertised and scheduled for 12 rounds as per WBA rules, was stopped after 10, drawing an angry reaction from Team Botha and the crowd in attendance.
Hogg admitted a last-minute decision to switch the bout from 12 to 10 rounds "unusual" but that it had been cleared by officials after both camps agreed shortly before the fight started.
"Any suggestion that there was any decision made during the fight is just nonsense," Hogg told Fox Sports on Saturday.
"Any claim that it was cut back to 10 during the fight to save Sonny Bill is just nonsense, we wouldn’t be party to that.
"Both parties told us it was cut back to 10 rounds, we had no time to try and check with the WBA to see if they were aware of what was happening.
Hogg added: "It wasn’t for us to stand up and say ’we don’t agree, you need to fight 12’.
"It was a bit puzzling as to why it had been cut back to 10, but obviously both corners were in agreement."
That said it seems pretty clear that even if the camps had agreed to a last minute reduction in rounds, there have been reports that Botha’s team may have failed to inform him of the change and even Judge Alan Moore is quoted as saying: "When the ring announcer said over the loud speaker that it was the last round, that was the first we (judges) knew of any change,"
February 9, 2013
Traditionally, all WBA International bouts are fought over 12 rounds, although there has been rare occasions when bouts have been fought over 10. That said all parties involved would presumably have been clearly informed and agreed to the reduction in rounds.