Sonny Bill Williams survives early knockdown to beat Waikato Falefehi in boxing comeback

  • Tom Ward
Sonny Bill Williams

Former All Blacks rugby star Sonny Bill Williams survived a second-round knockdown to beat Waikato Falefehi on his boxing comeback in Townsville on Saturday night.

The New Zealander won by unanimous decision in his first fight since defeating American Chauncy Welliver in their January 2015 clash at Allphones Arena in Sydney.

But Williams (8-0, 3 KOs), who is 35 and from Auckland, didn’t have it all his own way as he had to climb off the canvas before beating the unfancied Falefehi.

However, the former WBA International heavyweight champion still managed to recover and went on to narrowly beat Falefehi on points, with all three judges scoring the contest 57-56 in his favour.  

Sonny Bill Williams

After the fight, Williams called out former AFL star Barry Hall, who drew against Paul Gallen on his debut in November 2019.

“I hope so, hopefully I can get a fight or two in before then and sharpen up a bit more,” Williams said in his post-fight interview (via Stuff).

“I am just like many people here, I am an avid boxing fan and I enjoy doing it. Not like footy I can cater it around my family and school drop off.

“It felt good [coming back], until I got a couple of those bombs. That is the sport of boxing, you don’t play boxing, that is for sure. I am just doing my due diligence to respect the sport.

“It was pretty hard, but after five years out I would expect nothing different. I hope everyone enjoyed that, I know where I am as a boxer, but I am just trying to learn as much as I can.”

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Sonny Bill Williams

In March, Williams and Gallen came face-to-face on Channel 9 in the commentary booth following the South Sydney Rabbitohs’ 26-16 win over the Sydney Roosters. 

When asked if he’d be interested in facing Gallen should he beat Justis Huni, Williams told Nine: “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’ll fight Paul.

“But I’ve got to do my due diligence like he had in the past few years. You know what I mean? That means sizing him up.”

Gallen replied: “He sized me up already tonight. He goes, ‘You’re a bit shorter than before.’

“I’ve got great respect for what Sonny has done in sport. But as I said, it remains to be seen whether this fight will happen.

“There’s no announcement tonight. I’ve got a big fight coming up against a world-ranked opponent. It’s a huge fight I’m preparing for.

“Maybe one day me and Sonny can happen. I’ve said it over and over for many years now, let’s do it. I still have my doubts it will ever happen though, big boy.

“But one thing me and you are going to do is get paid. We know that.”

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