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WBF’s latest decision keeps ‘Tank’ in the spotlight

It’s approaching two months since Sherman ‘The Tank’ Williams’ compelling performance against Evander Holyfield and the Bahamian standout continues to be a thorny issue for the World Boxing Federation (WBF).

I believe there is a great amount of respect for Williams within the upper echelon ranks of the WBF, but President Howard Goldberg and his colleagues no doubt did not expect the scenario that resulted from the Williams-Holyfield encounter.

Although the referee gave the no-decision declaration before the start of a fourth round, it was clear to all and sundry who witnessed the three sessions on that January 22 night in White Sulphur Springs in West Virginia, that Williams was the ring master.

As a result the WBF found itself in a conundrum. The appropriate resolution to the situation of Williams upstaging Holyfield had evaded the WBF. No initial official statements appeased Williams because it appeared that the WBF wanted to safeguard the title for Holyfield.

Williams finally had enough and challenged the WBF in a very strong letter to send a message to Holyfield that the title is not his to just do with it whatever he feels, especially given the pasting he took for three rounds.

Here is the complete latest statement sent to Williams by Goldberg (Wednesday, March 9, 2011):

“Hi Sherman, things are starting to become less complicated (I think). A fight in The Bahamas ,(the) last week in June or (the) first week in July seems like the way to go. Having just spoken to Evander’s attorney who is handling his affairs, I’m not sure where he is going, but he will have to defend his title after Brian Neilson (assuming he wins) sometime before October/November.

“Your opponent in June/July will be either one of the following and (if) all works well for the WBF you need to have a look and see what best works for you and we can resume the discussion after that.”

1. Raphael Zumbano (Brazil) Zumbano is scheduled to defend his WBF International title against Francois Botha on 23 April. (I’m) not sure if it will happen.

2. Francois Botha (South Africa) is scheduled to fight Zumbano on 23 April and then again fight against David Price in Ireland in May. (I’m) not sure if that will happen.

3. Travis Kauffman (USA) the WBF Intercontinental Champion, 21-1, (is) “the great white hope.”

“Irrespective of your opponent, you will fight for two titles, either the International or the Intercontinental, as well as an interim title.”

“Should you win, you will be mandated to fight Holyfield again (if he fights) and if he doesn’t, the winner of the fight in The Bahamas will assume the world title status with a mandatory defence (in The Bahamas should you win) before the end of 2011.

“Hope all the above makes sense and doesn’t confuse further.”

“You have a good day.”

To be blunt, the picture is still a confused one, but more appealing to Williams, as he has indicated.

My understanding is that Williams is attempting to work with Bahamian Sons Promotions out of Grand Bahama for all of the fights in question to be held here in The Bahamas. That’s the way to go. Hopefully, Williams can put together a group that will be able to work closely with cable networks in the United States or Europe, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Sports and Corporate Bahamas to bring the bouts to this country.

Sherman ‘The Tank’ Williams has done much to market The Bahamas before the world, positively. There should be a holding of hands in this country to create the environment going forward that is just right for him.

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