New Zealand Rugby
Williams set for boxing return
ESPNscrum Staff
December 14, 2010
Canterbury centre Sonny Bill Williams weighs in for his second professional fight, Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane, Australia, June 29, 2010
All Black Sonny Bill Williams will put his body on the line in the ring © Getty Images

Emerging All Black Sonny Bill Williams will jump back into the boxing ring just months before next year's Rugby World Cup on New Zealand soil, according to reports.

The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper on Tuesday reported that 25-year-old former rugby league star Williams planned to contest his third professional bout next year.

Williams made his debut for the All Blacks on their recent European tour and made such a successful transition to international rugby that it was tipped he would be one of the stars of the tournament by the time the World Cup came around.

Williams is to hold a press conference on Wednesday at Tony Mundine's Redfern gymnasium in Sydney to announced details of the bout.

Among those expected to attend the conference is Anthony Mundine, a close friend of Williams, who last week suffered his first loss to an Australian opponent when knocked out for the second time in his career by Garth Wood.

Williams has twice previously fought on the undercards of Mundine's KO To Drugs events. His most recent bout was on June 30 in Brisbane, just before turning down a $A2 million per season offer to remain with French Top 14 rugby club Toulon to sign with the New Zealand Rugby Union and pursue his All Blacks dream.

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder admitted that Williams had a clause in his contract that allowed him to don gloves once again. The former league star is set to join the franchise with their All Black contingent in February and Blackadder is hoping to work around his extra-curricular activities.

"We don't want it to be a distraction and we will just work our way around it like everything, such as injuries in the squad," he told The Press. "It's part of the deal and we have to live with it."

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