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Lennox Lewis vs. Francois Botha, billed as "The Homecoming", was a professional boxing match contested on July 15, 2000 for the WBC, IBF, IBO and Lineal Heavyweight Championships.

Background

Following an easy victory over the previously undefeated Michael Grant on April 29, Lennox Lewis agreed to make his next defense against South African contender Francois Botha. The fight was also announced to take place in Lewis' native London, making it his first championship fight there since being defeated by Oliver McCall in 1994.[1] Botha, meanwhile, was coming off an impressive performance against Mike Tyson in which he dominated the former Undisputed Champion for four rounds before Tyson was able to land a quick right hand in the fifth round to earn the knockout victory. Botha then fought a close majority draw with fellow heavyweight contender Shannon Briggs and earned an easy first round knockout victory over journeyman Steve Pannell before landing the championship fight with Lewis. Lewis, however, faced criticism for choosing to face Botha, who was ranked at number nine by the WBC and not ranked at all by the IBF. Though Botha came into the fight as a huge underdog, he remained confident that he could defeat Lewis stating "If I don’t knock him out, it’s going to be a terrible beating."[2]

The fight

Like in his previous fight with Grant, Lewis would make short work of Botha. Lewis dominated the duration of the fight landing 24 of his 47 thrown punches while Botha only managed to land nine punches through the entire fight instead opting to take a more defensive approach to the fight. With one minute left in the first round, Lewis staggered Botha with a right hook, but Botha managed to stay on his feet and avoid the knockdown. Lewis attempted to capitalize and pursued Botha aggressively in an attempt to gain a knockdown, but Botha was able to weather Lewis' attack by clinching and survived the first round without being knocked down. In the second round, Botha tried to keep his distance from Lewis and offered very little offense in the round. With about 40 seconds left in the round, Lewis was able to land a powerful four punch combination that knocked Botha halfway out of the ring. Botha crawled back in and was able to get back on his feet but as he was clearly hurt from the exchange, referee Larry O'Connell decided to stop the fight and Lewis was rewarded with his second consecutive second round knockout victory.[3]

References

  1. ^ Lewis to Fight Botha in London, N.Y. Times article, 2000-05–19, Retrieved on 2013-06-26
  2. ^ Preview of Lennox Lewis-Frans Botha Bout, ABC News article, 2000-07–15, Retrieved on 2013-06-26
  3. ^ Lewis Keeps Title While Tyson Waits, N.Y. Times article, 2000-07–16, Retrieved on 2013-06-26