The Memory Bank: Part Twenty-Five

By Ted Sares on July 3, 2015
The Memory Bank: Part Twenty-Five
The fight took place in South Africa, the first time Grant had fought outside the USA.

Grant, in the typical delusional and annoying fashion of most winning heavyweight fighters, immediately called out the Klitschko brothers…

High Drama in Johannesburg

“With more sanctioning bodies than one can count, and all things being unequal, wearing the WBF crown doesn’t count for much, unless of course you’re Michael Grant and had just returned from the dead.”—Robert Ecksel (

“I am going right at him (Botha) and I expect him to go down cold. I expect him to die.”—Mike Tyson

Frans Botha

With 63 bouts under him, the “White Buffalo” (a global road warrior extraordinaire) has fought just about everyone in the heavyweight boxing world. Like Englishman Danny Williams, Botha, now an old 47, has had his rollercoaster career of ups and downs, and when he was 35-0 when he gave Michael Moorer almost more than Moorer could handle in 1996. He also held his own with Mike Tyson in 1999 until a short Tyson right in the fifth round made Botha do the “Trevor Berbick yo-yo.”

The burly South African is perhaps best known for winning the IBF World heavyweight title in Germany against Axel Schulz in 1995, a title for which he was later stripped after testing positive for steroids. The fight outcome was later changed to a no contest.

Fast Forward

After shockingly stopping undefeated Flo Simba on June 4, 2011, Frans met Michael “Big” Grant (47-4) for the vacant World Boxing Federation heavyweight title at the Monte Casino in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.

Michael Grant

Michael “Big” Grant was 6’7” tall with an 86” reach. A natural born athlete before boxing he blossomed into a three-sport star at Chicago’s Harper High School. Like Botha, Grant had a great beginning to his pro career and when he fought Lennox Lewis in 2000, he was 31-0 (though Andrew Golota had previously exposed some weaknesses in Michael’s armor).

Against Lewis, Grant received early vicious punishment, ultimately being dropped by a signature Lewis hybrid right hand/uppercut. Grant somehow survived two more crunching knockdowns and, given the bravery of his corner, managed to answer the bell for the second round The Londoner then closed the show with a concussive uppercut (while holding Grant’s head) that toppled Grant to the canvas like he had been clubbed. Grant’s career never fully recovered momentum and he was on his way to becoming something of a top-tier gatekeeper.

The Fight (billed as “Urban War”)

“I will cut Michael Grant down to size.”—Botha

“If I get the opportunity, I’ll be hunting for a knockout as well.”—Grant

On November 19, 2011, Grant (48-4) faced Botha (48-6-3) for the vacant World Boxing Federation (WBF) heavyweight title, and the winner of this evenly matched tiff could find himself back on the lower end of the mix. The fight took place in Botha’s home country, the first time Grant had fought outside the USA.

Botha was in solid shape as he outscored the much taller Grant and buzzed him in rounds seven and eleven, but he began to tire late. Then, with just seconds to go in the twelfth and final round in a fight that Frans was winning on all the scorecards, he was shockingly knocked out in spectacular fashion by a long and thunderous Grant right hand—reminiscent of a Tommy Hearn’s whip shot—that caught the South African on the sweet point of his jaw and sent him down and out. As he remained prone for several scary minutes, the crowd was in disbelief, the announcers were in disbelief, and so was I as I entered this thrilling ending into my Memory Bank for posterity. Cries of “Oh my God” could be heard throughout the casino. It may not have been LaMotta vs. Dauthuille or Darnell “Ding-A-Ling Man” Wilson vs. David Rodriguez, but it was close.  Here it is:

Grant (now 48-6 and 42 years old), in the typical delusional and annoying fashion of most winning heavyweight fighters, immediately called out the Klitschko brothers who held all of the major heavyweight titles at that time. Unfortunately (for him), the native Chicagoan was TKOd in his next two outings. Talk of a rematch never materialized.

As for Botha (now 48-13-3-1), he appears to be on a one-way ticket to nowhere.

The Memory Bank: Part One
The Memory Bank: Part Two
The Memory Bank: Part Three
The Memory Bank: Part Four
The Memory Bank: Part Five
The Memory Bank: Part Six
The Memory Bank: Part Seven
The Memory Bank: Part Eight
The Memory Bank: Part Nine
The Memory Bank: Part Ten
The Memory Bank: Part Eleven
The Memory Bank: Part Twelve
The Memory Bank: Part Thirteen
The Memory Bank: Part Fourteen
The Memory Bank: Part Fifteen
The Memory Bank: Part Sixteen
The Memory Bank: Part Seventeen
The Memory Bank: Part Eighteen
The Memory Bank: Part Nineteen
The Memory Bank: Part Twenty
The Memory Bank: Part Twenty-One
The Memory Bank: Part Twenty-Two
The Memory Bank: Part Twenty-Three
The Memory Bank: Part Twenty-Four
The Memory Bank: Part Twenty-Five

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Francois Botha vs Michael Grant - Round 12

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  1. KB 02:34pm, 07/05/2015

    Hmm. Power Lifters excel at those contests. They are monster eaters, but Joey being upset upsets me.

  2. FrankinDallas 10:54am, 07/05/2015

    Forget about powerlifting and boxing….Joey Chestnut was upset at the
    Nathan’s 4th of July hot dog eating contest!

  3. KB 06:18pm, 07/04/2015

    Lindy, for him

  4. Lindy Lindell 01:31pm, 07/04/2015

    “Botha was in solid shape.”?  What are those rolls of suet below his nipples?

  5. KB 06:47pm, 07/03/2015

    Thanks lad. I have called on Botha to retire in another article. If Grant loses one more, he too should pack it in.

  6. John aka L.L. Cool John 06:44pm, 07/03/2015

    Grant got a late start in the “sport.” As I recall, it was a conversation with Richard Steele. I didn’t know both he and Botha were still fighting. Bad decision!
    Nice piece, Ted, on two guys from the distant past.

  7. Big Wally 05:37pm, 07/03/2015

    Thanks Ted. You learn something new everyday.

  8. KB 04:48pm, 07/03/2015

    Thank you Tex—and I agree with you on both accounts. Time to pack it in, especially for Botha who seems a bit on the masochistic side.

  9. KB 04:46pm, 07/03/2015

    He is very important. Among all types of iron people—bodybuilders, power lifters and weight lifters, he is considered the God. His advice is taken very seriously as he has inspired many people. I know he can be a jerk but in this world, he is God.

  10. Tex Hassler 04:45pm, 07/03/2015

    Grant had a lot going for him early in his career. He had power and boxing ability. I feel that both Grant and Botha should retire now before serious injury happens to them. This was an informative, well written article. Well worth taking the time to read.

  11. Big Wally 04:33pm, 07/03/2015

    How important is Arnold in these kinds of things? Just wondering since he only acts these days.

  12. KB 04:08pm, 07/03/2015

    Eric, actually I was the one who put up the link. Hall’s lift was 100 % OK, He did not even use knee sleeves. No. it was a great and clean lift

    I use wrist wraps, belt, elbow sleeves, and sometimes—but only sometimes—knees sleeves. I never use Knee wraps or special shirts. I am a 100% raw full power lifter. I am old school, but if I switched to equipped, my numbers would shoot up like rockets. Maybe someday God willing.


  13. Eric 01:55pm, 07/03/2015

    KB…Sorry for bringing up Power Lifting again, but I saw the vid that Irish linked and couldn’t help but wonder if that is an official lift using the straps? I know they have “Raw” lifting meets and those that allow “gear.” I’m old school when it comes to Power LIfting, I discount anything done using gear except a lifting belt and knee and elbow wraps. The bench press event has gotten ridiculous. Apologize from straying off-topic.

  14. KB 11:40am, 07/03/2015

    Not sure if this will show up but it’s a video of me on the way to breaking the NH State BP record last week.

    That is all. No more Power Lifting as this is about boxing

  15. KB 11:36am, 07/03/2015

    He broke it at the gabled Arnold’s in Australia a bit ago. Note Arnold S rooting him on and then congratulating him. It was a classic lift that could be used in training manuals.

    As for me, I do just fine for a 78-year-old and will be in Quebec City, Canada in September.  I hold all NH State EPF records for my age class—most of my competitors are dead or dying.

  16. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 10:58am, 07/03/2015

    This just in….Eddie Hall just set a world record in the dead lift down under at 462 kg (1018.5 lbs)....stay tuned….Ted Sares up next.

  17. KB 10:51am, 07/03/2015


  18. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 10:22am, 07/03/2015

    The voices in Mayorga’s head told him he’s a nice guy…. so there… that settles it!

  19. KB 08:26am, 07/03/2015

    HA, Smoger studies under the Marquis de Sade. Soon his waist belt will choke him as it continues to creep up his mini upper body.

  20. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:01am, 07/03/2015

    Ted Sares-Thanks for this Memory Bank #25-Botha is a masochist if ever there was and the whole world saw the blatant foul that Lewis employed to pulverize Grant….that is everyone except that Hall of Fame garden gnome Steve Smoger.

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