Francois "Frans" Botha (born 28 September 1968) is a South African kickboxer and former professional boxer. He is best known in boxing for winning the IBF heavyweight title against Axel Schulz in 1995, but was later stripped after failing a drug test. Botha has also competed once in mixed martial arts.
Botha has had a relatively distinguished career as a heavyweight boxer, having fought several world heavyweight champions including Mike Tyson, Shannon Briggs, Axel Schulz, Michael Moorer, Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko. Botha suffered a fifth-round knockout to Mike Tyson, and the famous fight with Shannon Briggs, which ended in a draw.
Botha had a victory in 1995 against Germany's Axel Schulz to win the IBF heavyweight Championship, but later tested positive for the steroid nandrolone  he and his camp claimed to be prescribed by a doctor for an arm injury. The result of the fight was then changed to a "No Contest" and the IBF do not recognize Botha as former champion, although Botha was introduced as a former champ in every single professional boxing contest he has engaged in since.
In 1996 "The White Buffalo" bounced back with a courageous effort with Michael Moorer for the IBF crown on the undercard of Mike Tyson's first contest with Evander Holyfield. Moorer knocked him out in the twelfth round. This eventually led to fights with Mike Tyson, Shannon Briggs, and heavyweight title showdowns with Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko. Botha came up on the short end via knockout in both of those encounters for the heavyweight title.
Four months after the Klitschko fight, Botha fought contender Clifford Etienne, and knocked him down twice, but was denied a victory and received a majority draw with two judges scoring it 94–94 and one judge scoring it 95–93 in favor of Botha. This was in Etienne's hometown.
In July 2007, Botha returned to boxing with a unanimous decision victory over Bob Mirovic in a fight held in South Africa. Botha dominated the fight with two judges holding Botha won all twelve rounds and one judge ruling he won ten of twelve. The bout was for the interim WBF World Heavyweight title.
On 6 February 2009, Botha beat Ron "Rocky" Guerrero by unanimous decision for the vacant WBF heavyweight title in South Africa. He successfully defended his WBF title against Timo Hoffmann on 15 May 2009 in Germany, winning the fight by split decision.
Botha was scheduled to box Joey Abell on 27 March 2010 (postponed from the earlier date of 16 January 2010) at the Uganda Nelson Mandela Memorial Stadium in Kampala, Uganda. On 10 January, the World Boxing Foundation executive has decided to vacate the WBF World Heavyweight Title due to Botha not defending within the agreed time limit.
Since then, Botha has won against former undefeated South African prospect Flo Simba. He then fought Michael Grant for the vacant WBF heavyweight title and was leading on the scorecards when he was knocked out with a long right hand from Grant with seconds remaining in the contest. Two fights later, Botha fought Francesco Pianeta, who was undefeated in 29 fights, losing the 10 round bout on points.
He was due to fight New Zealand dual-international Sonny Bill Williams in Brisbane on 24 November 2012. However, the fight was cancelled and moved to February. Finally the Williams fight did take place in Brisbane. However, only 10 out of a publicised 12 rounds were fought. Bout judges awarded the fight to the New Zealand Champion on points. Since that night in Brisbane there has been a lot of talk in the media, ranging from a failed drugs test, to no drugs testing at all, no WBA official present at the bout, and one fight judge stated that the first he heard about the fight being 10 rounds was from the arena announcer. However, despite all the media speculation, the WBA has confirmed that the fight was legitimate and Williams the recognised International heavyweight title-holder. Botha is hoping for a possible rematch against Williams in Cape Town.
From 2003-2006 Botha participated several times in the kickboxing combat sport, K-1. His current K-1 record is 4-11, with two wins coming against K-1/Kickboxing legends Jerome Le Banner and Peter Aerts. Botha's final K-1 match was a three-round decision loss to Jorgen Kruth on 20 May 2006 in a K-1 superfight in Stockholm, Sweden.
On 14 October, Botha beat Espedito Da Silva by KO at K-1 Rules Africa Bomba-Yaa 2006.
Botha made a return to kickboxing in 2008. On 30 March 2008, Botha defeated muay thai kickboxer Kaoklai Kaennorsing at The KHAN in Seoul, Korea by decision. He lost to French kickboxer "Le Gentleman" Gregory Tony at WFC 6 on 27 September 2008 in Bulgaria.
|Professional record summary|
|63 fights||48 wins||11 losses|
|63||Loss||48–11–3 (1)||Andrzej Wawrzyk||TKO||5 (10), 1:56||15 Mar 2014||Hotel Arłamów, Arłamów, Poland||For vacant Poland International heavyweight title|
|62||Loss||48–10–3 (1)||Joseph Parker||TKO||2 (8), 2:32||13 Jun 2013||The Trusts Arena, Auckland, New Zealand|
|61||Loss||48–9–3 (1)||Sonny Bill Williams||UD||10 (12)||8 Feb 2013||Entertainment Centre, Brisbane, Australia||For vacant WBA International heavyweight title|
|60||Loss||48–8–3 (1)||Francesco Pianeta||UD||10||7 Sep 2012||RWE Rhein-Ruhr Sporthalle, Mülheim, Germany|
|59||Loss||48–7–3 (1)||Carlos Takam||TKO||11 (12)||31 Mar 2012||Gymnase Jean Richepin, Noisy-le-Grand, France||For WBO Africa and vacant WBF (Federation) International heavyweight titles|
|58||Loss||48–6–3 (1)||Michael Grant||KO||12 (12), 2:23||19 Nov 2011||Montecasino, Johannesburg, South Africa||For WBF (Federation) heavyweight title|
|57||Win||48–5–3 (1)||Flo Simba||TKO||6 (10), 2:50||4 Jun 2011||Emperor's Palace, Kempton Park, South Africa|
|56||Loss||47–5–3 (1)||Evander Holyfield||TKO||8 (12), 0:55||10 Apr 2010||Thomas & Mack Center, Paradise, Nevada, US||For vacant WBF (Federation) heavyweight title|
|55||Draw||47–4–3 (1)||Pedro Carrión||MD||12||24 Oct 2009||Anhalt Arena, Dessau, Germany||For vacant WBF (Federation) heavyweight title|
|54||Win||47–4–2 (1)||Timo Hoffmann||SD||12||15 May 2009||Bördelandhalle, Magdeburg, Germany||Retained WBF (Foundation) heavyweight title|
|53||Win||46–4–2 (1)||Ron Guerrero||UD||12||6 Feb 2009||Tlokwe Banquet Hall, Potchefstroom, South Africa||Won vacant WBF (Foundation) heavyweight title|
|52||Win||45–4–2 (1)||Bob Mirovic||UD||12||6 Jul 2007||Carousel Casino, Hammanskraal, South Africa||Won vacant WBF (Foundation) interim heavyweight title|
|51||Draw||44–4–2 (1)||Clifford Etienne||MD||10||27 Jul 2002||New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana, US|
|50||Loss||44–4–1 (1)||Wladimir Klitschko||TKO||8 (12), 0:47||16 Mar 2002||Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle, Stuttgart, Germany||For WBO heavyweight title|
|49||Win||44–3–1 (1)||Russell Chasteen||TKO||3 (10), 1:36||13 Jul 2001||Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, Rancho Mirage, California, US|
|48||Win||43–3–1 (1)||David Bostice||UD||10||5 Jun 2001||Fremont Street Experience, Las Vegas, Nevada, US|
|47||Win||42–3–1 (1)||Joey Guy||KO||1 (10), 2:40||16 Mar 2001||The Orleans, Paradise, Nevada, US|
|46||Win||41–3–1 (1)||Tony LaRosa||TKO||1 (10), 2:56||2 Nov 2000||Washington, D.C., US|
|45||Loss||40–3–1 (1)||Lennox Lewis||TKO||2 (12), 2:39||15 Jul 2000||London Arena, London, England||For WBC, IBF, IBO, and lineal heavyweight titles|
|44||Win||40–2–1 (1)||Steve Pannell||TKO||1 (10), 2:08||8 Jan 2000||University Arena, Albuquerque, New Mexico, US|
|43||Draw||39–2–1 (1)||Shannon Briggs||MD||10||7 Aug 1999||Etess Arena, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US|
|42||Loss||39–2 (1)||Mike Tyson||KO||5 (10), 2:59||16 Jan 1999||MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, US|
|41||Win||39–1 (1)||David Cherry||TKO||1 (10), 2:38||26 Jun 1998||Boone County Fairgrounds, Kansas City, Missouri, US|
|40||Win||38–1 (1)||Stan Johnson||KO||1 (10), 0:27||24 Apr 1998||County Fairgrounds, Dubuque, Iowa, US|
|39||Win||37–1 (1)||Lee Gilbert||UD||12||21 Jun 1997||USF Sun Dome, Tampa, Florida, US||Retained WBA–NABA heavyweight title|
|38||Win||36–1 (1)||James Stanton||KO||10 (12), 3:00||10 May 1997||Convention Center, Coconut Grove, Florida, US||Won vacant WBA–NABA heavyweight title|
|37||Loss||35–1 (1)||Michael Moorer||TKO||12 (12), 1:18||9 Nov 1996||MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, US||For IBF heavyweight title|
|36||NC||35–0 (1)||Axel Schulz||SD||12||9 Dec 1995||Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle, Stuttgart, Germany||For vacant IBF heavyweight title;
Originally an SD win for Botha, later ruled an NC after he failed a drug test
|35||Win||35–0||Willie Jake||UD||8||8 Apr 1995||Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, US|
|34||Win||34–0||Brian Sargent||TKO||1 (10)||17 Mar 1995||Memorial Auditorium, Worcester, Massachusetts, US|
|33||Win||33–0||Bill Corrigan||TKO||1 (10), 0:41||7 Mar 1995||War Memorial Auditorium, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US|
|32||Win||32–0||Ken Lakusta||KO||1 (10)||17 Dec 1994||Coliseo General Rumiñahui, Quito, Ecuador|
|31||Win||31–0||Phil Scott||RTD||6 (10), 3:00||2 Jul 1994||The Mirage, Paradise, Nevada, US|
|30||Win||30–0||Martin Foster||TKO||1 (10), 1:37||21 May 1994||Kings Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|29||Win||29–0||Craig Payne||RTD||7 (10)||30 Oct 1993||Nasrec Indoor Arena, Johannesburg, South Africa|
|28||Win||28–0||John Morton||TKO||3 (10)||1 Oct 1993||ARCO Arena, Sacramento, California, US|
|27||Win||27–0||Ron Goodwin||KO||4 (10)||25 Jun 1993||Phoenix, Arizona, US|
|26||Win||26–0||Calvin Jones||TKO||2 (10)||15 Jun 1993||Denison, Texas, US|
|25||Win||25–0||Billy Wright||TKO||5 (8), 2:33||16 Jan 1993||Convention Center, Reno, Nevada, US|
|24||Win||24–0||Artie Hooks||KO||1 (8)||19 Nov 1992||Days Inn South, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, US|
|23||Win||23–0||Mike Jones||KO||1 (8)||19 Nov 1992||Days Inn South, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, US|
|22||Win||22–0||Russell Rierson||KO||1 (8)||19 Nov 1992||Days Inn South, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, US|
|21||Win||21–0||Jimmy Bills||UD||8||7 Oct 1992||Amarillo, Texas, US|
|20||Win||20–0||Russell Rierson||KO||5 (8)||29 Sep 1992||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, US|
|19||Win||19–0||Mike Hunter||MD||8||22 Sep 1992||County Coliseum, El Paso, Texas, US|
|18||Win||18–0||David Martin||KO||3 (8)||18 Jul 1992||Civic Assembly Center, Muskogee, Oklahoma, US|
|17||Win||17–0||Ken Jackson||UD||8||4 Jul 1992||Dallas, Texas, US|
|16||Win||16–0||Ron Ackerson||KO||3 (8)||12 Jun 1992||Central Plaza Hotel, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, US|
|15||Win||15–0||Marion Wilson||PTS||8||29 May 1992||Amarillo, Texas, US|
|14||Win||14–0||Ron Ackerson||KO||3 (8)||7 May 1992||Westin Hotel, Tulsa, Oklahoma, US|
|13||Win||13–0||Tim Tomashek||PTS||10||15 Nov 1991||ARCO Arena, Sacramento, California, US|
|12||Win||12–0||Ginger Tshabalala||SD||6||30 Sep 1991||Nasrec Indoor Arena, Johannesburg, South Africa|
|11||Win||11–0||Siza Makathini||SD||10||18 Aug 1991||Nasrec Indoor Arena, Johannesburg, South Africa||Won Transvaal heavyweight title|
|10||Win||10–0||Shaun Ayers||UD||10||30 Jun 1991||Nasrec Indoor Arena, Johannesburg, South Africa|
|9||Win||9–0||Rick Rice||KO||3 (8)||18 Feb 1991||Voortrekkerhoogte, Pretoria, South Africa|
|8||Win||8–0||Gideon Hlongwa||PTS||6||27 Jan 1991||Good Hope Centre, Cape Town, South Africa|
|7||Win||7–0||Leander Collins||KO||2 (8)||22 Sep 1990||International Convention Center, Brownsville, Texas, US|
|6||Win||6–0||Andre Smiley||KO||2 (8)||11 Sep 1990||Central Plaza Hotel, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, US|
|5||Win||5–0||Kevin Denson||PTS||6||25 Aug 1990||Civic Center, Lewiston, Maine, US|
|4||Win||4–0||Elvis Franks||UD||4||23 Jun 1990||Dallas, Texas, US|
|3||Win||3–0||Joe Adams||UD||4||27 Apr 1990||Point Cadet Plaza, Biloxi, Mississippi, US|
|2||Win||2–0||Themba Msweli||PTS||4||9 Apr 1990||University Arena, Pretoria, South Africa|
|1||Win||1–0||Johan Van Zyl||KO||1 (4)||11 Feb 1990||Portuguese Hall, Johannesburg, South Africa|
|4 Wins, 12 Losses|
|21/11/2015||Loss||Asihati||Kunlun Fight 34, Shenzhen, China ||Decision||3||3:00|
|27/09/2008||Loss||Gregory Tony||WFC 6, Sofia, Bulgaria||Decision||3||3:00|
|30/03/2008||Win||Kaoklai Kaennorsing||The Khan 1, Seoul, Korea||Decision||3||3:00|
|14/10/2006||Win||Espedito Da Silva||K-1 Rules Africa Bomba-Yaa 2006||KO (strikes)||2||N/A|
|20/05/2006||Loss||Jorgen Kruth||K-1 Scandinavia GP in Stockholm||Decision||3||3:00|
|5/03/2006||Loss||Ray Sefo||K-1 WGP 2005 in Auckland||Decision||3||3:00|
|23/09/2005||Loss||Musashi||K-1 2005 WGP Final Elimination||Decision||3||3:00|
|13/08/2005||Loss||Mighty Mo||K-1 2005 in Las Vegas II||TKO (strikes)||1||1:20|
|4/12/2004||Loss||Remy Bonjasky||K-1 2004 WGP Final||Decision||3||3:00|
|4/12/2004||Win||Peter Aerts||K-1 2004 WGP Final||TKO (leg injury)||1||1:13|
|25/09/2004||Win||Jérôme Le Banner||K-1 2004 WGP Final Elimination||TKO (injury)||3||N/A|
|6/05/2004||Loss||Remy Bonjasky||K-1 WGP in Nagoya||Decision||3||3:00|
|27/03/2004||Loss||Aziz Khattou||K-1 WGP in Saitama||Decision||3||3:00|
|6/12/2003||Loss||Cyril Abidi||K-1 2003 WGP Final||Decision||3||3:00|
|11/09/2003||Loss||Cyril Abidi||K-1 2003 WGP Final Elimination||DQ||1||0:19|
|0 Wins, 1 Loss|
|2004-12-31||Loss||Yoshihiro Akiyama||K-1 PREMIUM 2004 Dynamite!!||Submission (armbar)||1||1:54||Osaka, Japan|