Schulz to sue IBF over steroids

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The Independent Online

The manager of the German heavyweight Axel Schulz yesterday predicted that an International Federation decision denying him an early re-match against Frans Botha would not stand up to his court challenge.

Wilfried Sauerland said he would file a suit against the IBF in New Jersey to have South African Botha, the champion, disqualified because he took anabolic steroids before his fight with Schulz last December.

"The IBF doesn't have a chance," Sauerland declared. "My lawyers expect the IBF to be knocked out in court in the first round and not appeal."

Germany's Association of Professional Boxers called the decision the IBF took yesterday, which partly reversed a ruling on Saturday saying Botha could keep his crown, a "low blow for fairness in boxing".

The IBF ruled that Botha must first fight American Michael Moorer. The winner would then meet Schulz within 180 days.

"We will meet by Wednesday at the latest and make clear we will not allow this," the association's vice-president, Mario Hille, told RTL television. "It's incredible how quickly the IBF changed its mind."

Schulz said he was relieved by the prospect of not having to box Botha again, adding: "I'd have a funny feeling if I had to face him in the ring again."

The IBF fined Botha pounds 33,000, saying the South African did not know the medicine a doctor had prescribed was a steroid.

Yesterday, the IBF president, Robert Lee, said officials had not fully taken into account an agreement that bound the winner of the Botha-Schulz bout in December to fight Moorer by 9 June.

Lee said several members of the IBF's executive and championship committees had met again and decided to reverse part of Saturday's decision. Moorer's promoter had threatened legal action following the decision.