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
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.