Sonny Bill Williams and Quade Cooper won their boxing bouts on Friday with SBW claiming the WBA International heavyweight title.
Sonny Bill Williams and Quade Cooper both won their boxing bouts on Friday with SBW claiming the WBA International heavyweight title.
World Cup-winning All Black Williams survived a whirlwind finish from veteran South African Frans Botha to land the vacant title with a unanimous points decision in Brisbane.
The ringside judges gave him the fight 97-91, 98-94, 97-91 over the 10 rounds.
Williams was holding on in the final round as 44-year-old Botha, dubbed the “White Buffalo”, went after him with heavy blows.
27-year-old Williams who remains unbeaten in six fights, is due to play in Australia's National Rugby League this year with the Sydney Roosters.
Botha's record now stands at 48-10-3. Botha was left fuming after the bout. Cut short from the original 12 rounds to 10, Williams looked in control for most of the fight.
The South African, however, was furious with officials after the decision was made to shorten the bout, with the 44-year-old looking to have worn out Williams by the end of the 10th.
“You know I love Sonny Bill, I think he's a great guy, a gentleman, but this was bullshit,” the 115kg Botha said in an interview after the fight.
“If you look at the crowd, you know who won. You've got to win fair and square, not with the advantage of the judges, you've got to fight. According to me I won, hands-free.”
Wallabies fly-half Cooper won his first professional fight on the same fight card in a first-round knockout of fellow Australian Barry Dunnett.
Cooper landed a right hook high on Dunnett's head to send his opponent crashing to the canvas inside the opening round of his scheduled four-round cruiserweight bout.