'White Buffalo' faces feisty German foe

Francois Botha will engage in arguably his toughest fight since announcing his boxing comeback when he defends his lightly minted World Boxing Foundation (WBF) heavyweight crown against German Timo Hoffmann at Bordelandhalle in Magdeburg, Germany, on Friday.

The former International Boxing Federation champion will vie for the second defence of his crown.

Botha, who made a return to the ring after a five-year absence, won the title when he beat Bob Mirovic in 2007.

He has defended it against Mexican Ron Guerrero, winning on points in February this year.

Botha is eager to re-climb the heavyweight ladder and challenge for a major world title but has been criticised for a lack of proper conditioning which negated his boxing prowess.

However, since the fight against Hoffmann was announced, the “White Buffalo” has reportedly engaged in a rigorous training programme to shed the excess weight he has been carrying.

Botha, who is now 40 years old, left for Germany last week to acclimatise and benefit from more modern training programmes.

“He has been pushing himself extremely hard for this fight because he knows that a loss will probably spell the end of his aspirations to make a mark in elite boxing scene again,” said WBF African president Howard Goldberg, who leaves on Wednesday to supervise the fight.

Hoffmann is described as a typical European heavyweight contender with sound technique.

The challenger’s losses have been against top heavyweight fighters in the world including current World Boxing Council ruler Vitali Klitschko who was stretched the distance by Hoffmann in 2000.

The 34-year-old has also lost to Henry Akinwande, Timor Ibragimov and rising unbeaten star Alexander Dimitrenko.

Those losses form part of his six defeats and a draw in 45 bouts, while Botha has lost four times and drawn twice in 53 fights.—Sapa

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