Sonny Bill Williams had a special guest ringside last night as he stepped up training for his next boxing match.
Jaime Ridge, an 18-year-old Auckland student and model, is the new girl in the sports superstar's life and arrived half-way through his sparring session at Hamilton boxing gym Ringside with her mother, Sally Ridge.
The daughter of former rugby and league international Matthew Ridge was among a crowd of 40 who gathered to watch Williams spar against Commonwealth Games representative-turned-professional David Aloua and Joseph Parker, NZ's top super heavyweight amateur.
The Ridges stood with Williams' mother, Lee, who also made the trip from Auckland to see him prepare for the February 8 fight in Hamilton against Clarence Tillman III. Tillman replaced Richard Tutaki as Williams' opponent for the Professional Boxing Association heavyweight title after the Weekend Herald revealed Tutaki was facing serious criminal charges.
Williams' trainer, Tony Mundine, watched his protege closely as the rugby and league star started slowly against his sparring partners.
SBW was also supported by his Australian-based father and brother, as well as manager Khoder Nasser.
Jaime Ridge kept a low profile until after the training ended when Williams briefly chatted with her.
The All Black declined to speak with media at the gym.
Waikato Boxing Association president and Ringside owner Rik Ellis said Williams' training was intense and setting him up to peak for the scheduled fight next month at the Claudelands Event Centre.