Sunday, July 04, 2010

Sonny Bill Williams boxing again, before heading to Canterbury

Sonny Bill Williams boxing again, before heading to Canterbury

A year ago league convert Sonny Bill Williams made his professional boxing debut when he went up against Gary The Baboob Gurr in Brisbane. Williams fought again this past week, for charity, as he took on Ryan Hulk Hogan.

They say it would take a lot of guts to step in the ring with the supremely cut 108kg former league star, and Hogan had that in abundance. His 135kg physique made the fight somewhat of a mismatch, with Williams winning easily in the first round.

As with last year, it was a bit farcical as the newly signed Canterbury player was never tested, barely breaking sweat as he won in just 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

It was a curtain raiser for his mate Antony Mundines fight, with proceeds going to charity. Mundine, a former league player himself, helped Sonny Bill with his first fight a year ago too.

Williams said he would have preferred a sterner challenge and apparently only found out who he was fighting shortly before hand. "He moved around a bit and would have liked it to be a bit more toe-to-toe," he said.

The Toulon star has recently moved back to New Zealand, having signed with Canterbury as he will now concentrate on his rugby career, with his main goal being to earn the All Blacks jersey. He will start in the ITM Cup (formerly Air New Zealand Cup) if selected to play against Hawke's Bay on the 30th of this month.

He will more than likely play first centre, or somewhere in the backs, but Wayne Smith says hed like to see him on the field before he decides where hed be best suited to. Williams said he chose Canterbury for a number of reasons, particularly the chance to play with Dan Carter.

"Obviously Carter was a very big factor. He's one of the best number 10s in the world, up there with Jonny Wilkinson. I felt that when I was in Toulon I played my best rugby when I formed a good connection with Jonny," said Williams.

"I'm going down there with a blank page and I'm willing to learn off anyone, whether it be Dan Carter or the younger boys. When Wilkinson was asked recently if he thinks Williams will make the All Blacks, he confidently said "Definitely. I've not seen the likes of him before."

Williams chose Canterbury despite better offers from other provinces, as well as the lure of a sizable financial package for an extension at Toulon. He has departed on good terms though, and hasnt ruled out possibly going back one day. "Toulon have already said they want me to go back after my contract so it's good to have that option too."

"He's a real athlete. It'll be fantastic to work alongside him," said new teamate Dan Carter. "He's a guy that can turn a game on its head with his power and his skills. His off-load abilities are fantastic. I think it'll add another dimension to our game."

He's proved that he can play while in France. Do you think he'll make his mark in New Zealand and make the All Blacks end of year tour, or is Sonny Bill Williams over rated and over hyped?

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Time: 0:48

Posted by Rugbydump at 10:56 am | View Comments (24)

Viewing 24 comments

FrankyH July 04, 2010 11:39 am

Haha what a joker that other guy was. Homer Simpson would have put up a better fight.

Williams will do well I think. Great hands, offloads, strength, instincts, etc. He just needs more time player union. Exciting prospect!

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Anonymous July 04, 2010 11:42 am

A shame he left Toulon, but he'll probably explose in Canterbury, especially with a world-class 10 with Carter. And it's also the better choice if he wants to play as a All Black.

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Jack July 04, 2010 11:50 am

SBW will be good at any contact sport just because of his athleticism, the ability to break tackles, offload, and put in the big hits means he can be an impact player.

But its easier playing centre with Carter and Wilkinson, a real test for a centre is playing outside a less confident 10 and still being able to make yards.

For me I don't think he doesn't have a rugby brain yet, and at 24 he probably not going to be a world class centre.

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Canadian Content July 04, 2010 4:12 pm

The passes he threw at the Amlin cup were other worldly, spin passes travelling 20-30 metres on a straight line, he can really open things up. He just needs to improve his discipline as he also threw some ridiculous offloads that went flying 20 yards back to no one. It will be interesting to watch to say the least. I'd run a big 12 or an 8 at him consistently and see if his defensive stamina is up to snuff.

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miguel July 04, 2010 6:17 pm

i still think its all hype for so many reasons.

he's done "well" in france, but lets go ahead and face the reality there are different standards of play in north and south club rugby and that is reflected consistently in test matches and player accounts. if he does well and ultimately ends up an all black i still dont see him as deserving a spot in any match day 22. there are far better and more deserving players in new zealand.

also, is it just me or does it seem like he hasnt gotten any real opponents. i don't know anything about nz boxing but this is just absurd, sorta like when tyson made his first comeback and just had a series of nobody journeymen knockouts.

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BigBucks July 04, 2010 6:23 pm

Is his opponent just out of the local pub

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Jono July 04, 2010 11:04 pm

It's not hype at all.
The guy is a freak of an athlete.
It's no more hype than Jason Robinson or Lote Tuqiri were too hyped. Both became arguably the best rugby union players in their positions in the world, and SBW is capable of the same thing.
Inr egards to his offloading style, at S14 level that's going to be rewarded, because there's going to be guys ready to take those passes, no matter how risky.
Risky play is encouraged down south, unlike in Europe, you just have to have the ability to make it work, and NZ players at S14 level have that ability.
And he's going to be outside a no 10 by the name of Dan Carter, so I think he'll get more opportunities than he did at Toulon.

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Jono July 04, 2010 11:05 pm

Oh, and the boxing is just for off season training.
He get's put on the undercard of Anthony Mundine fights, he fights chumps cuz he's not really a full time pro fighter.
It just creates media attention for Mundine's fights.

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Anonymous July 05, 2010 6:46 am

He only fights for mundine because he owes mundine big time for paying off his 800k to the bulldogs so they wouldnt sue his arse. He will never fight anyone with a possibility of beating him, it's all for publicity to make money for mundine

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Anonymous July 05, 2010 7:03 am

Exactly right. Which is an absolute disgrace. The event is meant to be about saying no to drugs and making a positive impact on people. Yet they have Sonny fight some bum. Mundine fights so bum.

How low can Mundine go?

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Anonymous July 05, 2010 9:53 am

why not take on a decent fighter?this was a complete waste of time and if anything it makes williams look like he doesnt want a challenge,he wud get more respect if he took on a guy who can actually fight and not be at risk to having a heartattack if he goes more than one round

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Anonymous July 05, 2010 10:26 am

Muscles don't make boxers. Mundine is bad enough but SBW is just a joke.

And of those "other worldly" passes in the Amlin final, most of them were wayward miracle passes that ended up in the possession of the Cardiff Blues.

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Jackson July 05, 2010 11:02 am

miguel said: "i don't know anything about nz boxing but this is just absurd"

The fight was in Brisbane, Australia. It's a rubbish match at the very bottom of the card to get in a few more customers. Like Jono says it's just media attention for Mundine who craves media attention, and a few extra bucks for SBW I presume. I doubt that his Canterbury contract will allow him to fight. I also wonder if the ABs need a player like him, he's athletic for sure but so are guys like Gear who are also much more rugby smart and have the feel of hungry up-and-comers. SBW looks more like a talented chancer who might not cut it at the top .. but he could prove me wrong. In a way I hope he does well, it would make things interesting.

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Anonymous July 05, 2010 12:32 pm

Roy Jones Jnr, Joe Calzaghe and Bernard Hopkins would tear Mundine and SBW to pieces even at their ripe old ages.

Boxers vs posers.

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Anon July 05, 2010 12:44 pm

lol this reminds me of Snatch. he had to go down in the FOURTH!

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Anonymous July 05, 2010 2:58 pm

Pierre Spies would eat him for breakfast.

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Joost July 05, 2010 6:53 pm

Haha lets throw SBW and Pierre Spies on a ring and see what happens! Funny enough watching this baldie carry his tummy around though.

SBW will do good in the Super 15. I think he's got the potential to see Ma'a Nonu off for the All Blacks 12 jersey, he doesn't just run through defenders but around them. And has an offloading game to kill.

Watch for Stanley and McAlister though!

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miguel July 06, 2010 2:16 am

yah it makes sense that they wouldnt put him up against anyone who was a serious threat because of issues with his contracts, but at least match him against somebody who looks like they can for more than a few rounds.

at the end of the day i think its hype, and i'm not sure whats going on with the AB selectors. it reminds me of a summer ago when danny cipriani was posing in b&i lions gear for promotional purposes but could barely make the saxons bench. maybe SBW is an good marketing tool, but if hes going to be an AB he should not only deserve it but be able to perform.

i suppose the best judge of that will be the AB selectors. if SBW gets picked and is able to compete well enough to justify holding on to it then I'll stand corrected.

just remember it was this time last year that luke mccalister was being rushed back into the AB by the selectors against their standard rules and operating procedures and look how that paid off.

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jono July 06, 2010 5:48 am

SBW is twice the athlete Mcalister will ever be.
I guess alot of Euro fans haven't seen SBW play rugby league and so don't know what he's capable of.
The way I see it, if you can't turn SBW into a great union player, you're a shitty coach. With potential like that, if you can't turn it into good preformance, you shouldn't be coaching rugby.
He will probably never be an instinctive rugby player, but neither was Tuqiri or Robinson, and they were two of the best wingers the game has ever seen.
They came over to union at similar ages (Robinson was even older) and adapted really well after a season or two of adjustment.
Physically SBW can dominate any backline player in the game and can mix it with most forwards.

BTW, while Mundine is far from being one of the great fighters, he is not a chump.
He's a two-time world champ, even if it was the not particulalry strong IBF belts he held.
That's still not bad, and better than most pro boxers will ever do in their careers.
Considering he came to the psort much later than is normal for a boxer, it's an impressive acheivment.

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Jono July 06, 2010 5:53 am

Oh and Roy jones Jnr is a walking punching bag these days, Mundine could probably beat him.
Danny Green TKOed RJJ in the first round and Mundine beat Green convincingly, so it's not a stretch to think Mundine could beat RJJ.

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Anonymous July 06, 2010 8:31 am

RJJ is 41 and still wouldn't fall to crappy Mundine.

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Anonymous July 06, 2010 8:34 am

Mundine lost to Sven Ottke, the most paper champion in the history of boxing.

He'll do ok sticking to those Mickey Mouse fights in Australia.

What a joke.

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jay July 06, 2010 2:50 pm

When he first got to France I thought over rated... or good player but.
And yet we've seen signs during the year that the guy is quickly learning 15, contact and pass, taking holes while he has or passing the ball when he should.
SO unlike Gasnier (another big ref from the aussie rugby league), I really think Williams can be a part of the all-black team one day.
I can only imagine Conrad next to him, nice way to star a game ^^
As for Spies : yes he is an excellent player but that doesn't mean he's good at everything.

"My mum does the best pie ever"
SA anomynomous : "I bet Spies makes one even better" ;P

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Mike July 07, 2010 12:49 pm

Which one is Sonny Bill?

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