SBW switches pitch for ring

2011-12-06 07:50

Christchurch - Rugby World Cup winner Sonny Bill Williams will switch the pitch for the ring once again in February when he fights for New Zealand's vacant heavyweight boxing crown, the All Blacks back told local media on Tuesday.

Williams faces 10-year professional Richard Tutaki in Hamilton on February 8, less than three weeks before his debut with his new Super Rugby side, Chiefs.

Undefeated in four fights against a succession of journeyman opponents, Williams said Tutaki presented a real challenge.

"I think every time you step in the ring, there's a bit of fear in there but that motivates you to train hard and do your best," Williams, clean-cut in a snappy grey suit, told local reporters at a media conference.

"He's a seasoned campaigner, 40 fights, so hopefully I haven't bitten off too much, but I'll be right."

His 33-year-old opponent, nicknamed the "Tutaki Express Train", has a 19-21 record with one draw in 41 fights. He lost his last bout in April following an 18-month break from the sport, local media said.

Williams won his last fight by unanimous decision in June against 43-year-old Tongan boxer Alipate Liava'a as then-All Blacks coach Graham Henry looked on from the crowd, but was criticised for being unable to finish his opponent in the six-round fight in Auckland.

"After the last fight I kind of said to my manager I want to try and step up in class ... I was offered the chance to fight for the belt and it's not every day you get the opportunity," added Williams.

"Just really excited. Hopefully this is something I can add to my sporting achievements ... As a boxer I'm always evolving and I think there's a lot of improvement in me."

Williams's boxing aspirations have stoked controversy in New Zealand, where fans and pundits fret that the barnstorming 26-year-old could do himself serious damage and endanger his rugby career.

Williams, who played at centre and wing in the All Blacks' march to their second World Cup, has nonetheless secured an endorsement of sorts from the New Zealand Rugby Union, who permitted him a limited number of fights in his one-year contract.


  • Lunga - 2011-12-06 09:30

    Hope Bryce Lawrence isn't the ref.

  • Gladwin - 2011-12-06 11:33

    I hope Bryce Lawrence is the opponent!

  • graydon.meneses - 2011-12-06 12:20

    Hope Bryce Lawrence is kicked in the nuts.

  • sam.kaitawa - 2011-12-06 13:54

    As much as Saffas badmouth SBW, where's Bakkies these days.....the enforcer? LOL, Saffas are fundamentally hard done by Losers, you dish out excuses and break agreements ie TN and still whinge. Can't wait till Argentina hit the scene, SA are on shaky ground..........hurry up and leave SANZAR....and dry your eyes because South America and Asia are laughing at you.

      Kosie - 2011-12-06 14:02

      only thing shaking, is that useless little island you call new zealand. bakkies retired you twat. p.s what has asia or S. america got to do with rugby?

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-12-06 14:31

      Bakkies retired? do you follow rugby "twat"? Bakkies was supposed to "put SBW in his place" remember? yet bowed out As for S.America (Argentina) and Asia.......remember last year when the whinging Saffas were saying/complaining about leaving SANZAR for greener pastures up north ie Heineken cup, 6 nations blah blah blah...... hurry up and go. Hate to break the news mate but SA aren't known for rugby as much as you'd like to think, in all honesty, sports the last thing that springs to mind regarding South Africa BTW, when SA fills your empty stands from building them after the soccer WC, we'll fill them in Asia and S. America. Do you need a calculator?

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-12-06 15:02

      @kosie, BTW......good night and can you tell you're saffa refugees to from my 2 Islands, not a little Island and in fact if it's that useless then why are there so many arrogant saffas here. Good night. You'd be thick if you thought we respect are way too arrogant yet THICK.

      Will - 2011-12-07 05:16

      LOL u from nz of all places calling us whingers. What a complete joke you are. Open your eyes, you one eyed sheep shagger. NZ always make excuses when they lose and are more than likely the worst at doing it. You just won the world cup but yet your captain is still whinging. "sports the last thing that springs to mind regarding South Africa." You are the complete example of what you would call a ignorant fool. We are better than nz in most sports, you guys are real jokes when it comes to other sports. Some people in this world hardly know where nz is or in most cases don't know nz even exist and here you think you have the right your rather laughable comments. But thanks for the laugh though!!

      Allan Stanton - 2011-12-07 09:37

      My own experience with kiwis has always been pleasant. However, every now and then a knobhead emerges like this blowhard to taint the commonly held belief that folk from the land of the Long White cloud are humble, appreciative and knowledgeable about their sport. What a chump.

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