Wellington - Plans for All Blacks star and part-time boxer Sonny Bill Williams to fight for the vacant New Zealand heavyweight crown were up in the air on Saturday after it was discovered his would-be opponent is in jail.
Williams was scheduled to fight Richard Tutaki on February 8, just a few weeks before the Southern Hemisphere's Super Rugby competition gets under way.
But the New Zealand Herald reported that Tutaki has been arrested and denied bail after failing to turn up in court on drugs charges.
New Zealand Professional Boxing Association president Lance Revill said Williams would still fight next month and a new opponent was being sought.
Tutaki was chosen from a pool of five possible contenders and Revill said the other four were still in training. Williams's manager Khoder Nasser will pick the new opponent.
"Khoder Nasser has got the money and he is putting all the money up for the fight," Revill said.
Williams, a dual rugby union and league international, has had four professional boxing bouts but none against a fighter of note.
His most recent contest last June resulted in a points win over an overweight, 43-year-old, gospel-singing, sickness beneficiary.