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Report: Former All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams set for return to boxing after six-year hiatus

By Sam Smith

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Former All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams is in line to return to the boxing ring for the first time since 2015, according to a report out of Australia.


The Sydney Morning Herald reports plans are in place for Williams to set foot in the ring in April, where he will face a yet-to-be-determined opponent in a “warm-up” bout before fighting ex-AFL star Barry Hall a few months later.

Hall is also expected to feature on the same card as Williams in two months’ time as the pair reacquaint themselves with the sport that neither have participated in for a long time.

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Williams hasn’t boxed since January 2015, when he defeated American heavyweight Chauncy Welliver in his seventh professional bout to keep his undefeated record intact.

Since then, the 35-year-old has spent the majority of his time in rugby union, playing at two World Cups and an Olympic Games, while also featuring for the Chiefs and Blues in Super Rugby.

Following his final appearance for the All Blacks at the 2019 World Cup, Williams switched back to rugby league to join the Toronto Wolfpack in the Super League on a two-year, $10m deal.

The advent of COVID-19 saw his time with the Wolfpack cut short, though, with his most recent sporting foray coming with the Sydney Roosters, who he was loaned out to at the backend of last year’s NRL season.


Hall, meanwhile, drew with former NRL star Paul Gallen in his professional boxing debut in November 2019, but hasn’t laced the gloves up since then.

Both Hall and Williams are eager for the fight between each other to go ahead, according to duo’s promoters Danny Green and Khoder Nasser.

“Sonny is really excited about the idea of fighting Barry, Khoder tells me,” Green told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Both these guys don’t want to lose to each other. They have both requested they have a fight beforehand, so why don’t we put them on the same show?

“It’s great from a viewership perspective and ensures both athletes are in the best condition when they do fight each other.

“The fact that Sonny Bill is going into another sport again, it’s going to create a lot of noise and a lot of hype because he is a juggernaut. The fact these two behemoths are going to get in there and get it on, it’s very exciting.”


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