Lennox Lewis vs. Francois Botha

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Lennox Lewis 250 lbs beat Frans Botha 237 lbs by TKO at 2:39 in round 2 of 12


  • Lewis was a 15-1 favorite.
  • Botha was ranked ninth by the WBC, but he was unranked by the IBF.
  • This was Lewis' first fight in Great Britain since September 24, 1994, when he lost to Oliver McCall by a second-round TKO.
  • Dave Anderson of the New York Times reported:
Francois Botha, who calls himself the White Buffalo, wore what appeared to be a white buffalo skin into the ring tonight. He should have been carried out on it.
With a brutal left jab-right hand-left uppercut-right hand combination, Lennox Lewis retained his World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation heavyweight titles tonight with a second-round knockout after Botha hardly threw a punch.
"He caught me with a very good shot," Botha said. "He's a very worthy champion."
According to the Compubox statistics, Botha connected with only 9 of his 37 punches, but none of those nine landed solidly. Lewis, in contrast, connected with 24 of his 47 punches, including an overhand right that staggered the South African near the end of the first round.
"Lennox kept Botha in a zone where Botha couldn't fight and Lennox could fight," said Emanuel Steward, the champion's trainer. "I was impressed with the way Lennox controlled the fight with his left jab."
Lewis, who was cheered by the 10,000 spectators at London Arena for his "homecoming" in the United Kingdom as champion, is 37-1-1 with 29 knockouts. Botha is 40-3-1 with 24 knockouts but has been stopped three times -- by Michael Moorer, Mike Tyson and now Lewis.
Near the end of the cautious first round, Lewis staggered Botha with an overhand right to his blond goatee and mustache. Botha, who lives in Newport Beach, Calif., quickly regained his footing but was more intent on defense than on throwing any serious punches.
Near the end of the second round, that left-right-left-right combination by Lewis put Botha through the ropes in Lewis's corner. Botha crawled back into the ring but the referee, Larry O'Connell, waved his arms after 2 minutes 39 seconds of the round. Botha did not protest.
O'Connell, incidentally, was the judge who scored the debatable draw between Lewis and Evander Holyfield early last year at Madison Square Garden as just that -- a 12-round draw. When he was announced as the referee tonight, he was booed.


Preceded by:
Lewis vs. Grant
WBC Heavyweight Title Fight
# 83
Succeeded by:
Lewis vs. Tua
Preceded by:
Lewis vs. Grant
IBF Heavyweight Title Fight
# 35
Succeeded by:
Lewis vs. Tua