New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen is happy to let Sonny Bill Williams return to the boxing ring later this year.
The centre has a 7-0 professional record, including three knockouts, but has not fought since January 2015 when he won a unanimous points decision against Chauncy Welliver.
But there are plans for Williams to fight again in early December, against an as yet unnamed opponent, a week after the All Blacks’ final Test of 2018 against Italy in Rome.
Hansen, who has seen his side win three out of three in the Rugby Championship so far this year, has been assured by Williams and his agent Khoder Nasser that the bout will have no effect on the player’s preparations.
Always tough watching from the sidelines in sha allah I’ll be back soon
Looking forward to seeing the lads run out there tonight. I’ve got my ready it’s gonnna be a good one pic.twitter.com/MHy79GQRhq
— Sonny Bill Williams (@SonnyBWilliams) September 7, 2018
“I think he’s just going to get off the plane and do it. It’s the sort of athlete he is,” Hansen said.
“He’s pretty confident. Khoder’s confident that what’s going to take place won’t be of hindrance to him.
“So you’ve got to back their judgment. We’ve got guys boxing all the time as part of their training. It’s more of an exhibition fight than a go down and knock yourself out fight, if that makes sense.”
Williams has been out of action for three months, since injuring his shoulder against France in June, but Hansen believes he could be in contention to return against South Africa in Wellington next weekend.
“He’ll get an X-ray again on Monday and if everything’s clear there, he’ll be available as well,” Hansen said.
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