Wednesday 28 June 2017

Sonny Bill insists boxing can help Kiwi ambitions

ALL BLACK sensation Sonny Bill Williams is unrepentant about his return to boxing, insisting it will only help his rugby career.

The former rugby league star, who made his impressive first steps in international rugby union in Europe last month, will go into the ring to fight Australian fork-lift driver Scott Lewis in Sydney on January 29.

Williams (25) has fought twice before and ensured his boxing career would be allowed to continue when negotiating his return to New Zealand after his lucrative spell at Toulon.

The contractual stipulation has drawn criticism from commentators in the rugby-mad nation, with Williams looking like a serious addition to their Webb Ellis trophy chasing squad in next year's World Cup. But the centre believes he can improve his on-pitch sharpness in the ring.

Now playing with Canterbury, and Crusaders in Super 15 Rugby, Williams insisted: "What a lot of people have got to understand is, yes, I have played for the All Blacks, and I want to play for them again. But it is not set in stone that I will. I want to have a good Super season, and for me to get the best out of myself, this is how I do it.

"Boxing has grown on me in the last couple of years. I love the sport so much, and I was pretty disappointed after the last bout and frustrated that I didn't get to show what I can offer.

"It is a step up and a risk, but in life you don't get rewards without risks. I am going to have my knockers, but I am trying to do what I feel will get me in the best position to get another black jersey.

"I believe this boxing can benefit me out on the field. The last couple of years I have played my best rugby like that, so I don't want to go away from that strategy.''

Irish Independent

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