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SHARK TALE

Fate played a huge part when 33/1 outsider Frankie Toledo stepped in for his brother and won the world title, writes Elliot Worsell
INSPIRED: Toledo takes the fight to Botile, the huge betting favourite
Photo: ACTION IMAGES/ RICHARD HEATHCOE

ON April 6, 2001, Mbulelo Botile knew he would defend his IBF featherweight title against a New Jersey southpaw named Toledo but didn’t know which one. There was Frankie, the older Toledo, and there was David, the younger Toledo. Both were in line for a shot and both were aware Botile, the champion from South Africa, could grant only one wish at the Texas Station Casino in Las Vegas.

Initially the job was offered to David, the less experienced of the two. However, management problems left him feeling in the wrong frame of mind to challenge a champion whose previous fight led to Paul Ingle, Botile’s opponent, ending up in a coma, and Frankie, in tune with his sibling, sensed it. “Listen, man, this is an opportunity for you,” he told David. “Take the fight. Forget about all your issues and just go for it. You can’t turn it down.”

“I don’t know,” said David. “I need to go away and think about it.”

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FIGHT OF THE AGES – Naoya Inoue and Nonito Donaire serve up a classic in Japan LA LA LAND – Our verdict on the bizarre battle of the YouTubers in Los Angeles DOMESTIC BLISS – We preview the superb Kash Farooq-Lee McGregor matchup MUCH, MUCH MORE – Including the incredible story of Frank Grant’s violent past