Sonny Bill Williams fight put back to February

The heavyweight fight between former All Blacks center Sonny

Bill Williams and veteran South African boxer Francois Botha has

been rescheduled for February after Williams underwent surgery on a

chest muscle injury.

South African promoter World Sport Promotions said on Wednesday

an exact date would be worked out after it meets with Australian

broadcaster Fox Sports. The fight is due to take place in


”We wish Williams a speedy recovery and hope that he is able to

return to training soon,” said Thinus Strydom of WSP.

Williams, the New Zealand heavyweight champion and a dual rugby

league and union international, was due to fight Botha in Brisbane

on Nov. 24.

Williams tweeted from Australia on Wednesday that the operation

on the pectoral muscle he tore playing for his rugby club in Japan

this weekend was a success.

The 27-year-old Williams was a member of the All Blacks’ World

Cup-winning squad last year. Over the last few years he also has

negotiated with his rugby employers to allow him to pursue a boxing

career and beat New Zealand-based American Clarence Tillman III on

a first-round TKO to win the vacant New Zealand heavyweight belt

this February.

Williams has a 5-0 record with three knockouts but the bout with

Botha, 44, will likely be his biggest boxing test.

Nicknamed the ”White Buffalo,” Botha is a former world

heavyweight title contender, losing to Lennox Lewis, Wladimir

Klitschko, Evander Holyfield and, most recently, Michael Grant.

He also fought Mike Tyson and was stopped in the fifth round

after being ahead on points.

Botha told South African media this year he was so confident of

beating Williams he was willing to fight him ”somewhere during

halftime of a rugby match” and with ”one hand tied behind his


Williams is reportedly being paid $1.2 million to play 12 games

for Japan’s Panasonic Wild Knights before an expected return to

rugby league in Australia’s NRL in 2013.