Patrick McKendry

Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Boxing: SBW must enter negotiations or risk losing title

Sonny Bill Williams claimed the NZ heavyweight title with a win over Clarence Tillman III in February clash year. Photo / Christine Cornege
Sonny Bill Williams claimed the NZ heavyweight title with a win over Clarence Tillman III in February clash year. Photo / Christine Cornege

New Zealand Professional Boxing Association president Lance Revill is prepared to strip Sonny Bill Williams of his New Zealand heavyweight title if he doesn't accept an invitation to fight the winner of Thursday's Joseph Parker v Afa Tatupu fight within six months but is prepared to enter into negotiations to delay the challenge.

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Promoter Dean Lonergan, of Duco Events, has challenged Williams' manager Khoder Nasser to accept a showdown between Parker or Tatupu, the current holder of the New Zealand National Boxing Federation title, with a $1.3 million winner-takes-all prize.

Lonergan is well aware that under NZPBA rules Williams, who last night starred for the Sydney Roosters in their NRL grand final victory over Manly, must accept a challenge by a top-ranked contender within six months or forfeit the title.

Revill acknowledged that, but said he would be prepared to give Williams more time to prepare should his league or rugby commitments cause problems. The former All Black, tipped to re-join the Chiefs next year, still hasn't revealed his plans for next season, saying last night that he would reveal all within a fortnight.

"To be fair to Sonny Bill, I can't really see him accepting it within six months,'' Revill said.

"If I was Sonny Bill I would need two or three fights to get in shape. I would be looking at eight months, but in fairness to boxing, we're going to put the offer to him and if he turns it down we're going to have to strip him of the title.

"It would be good if Sonny Bill was challenged by Joseph Parker because that's the fight everyone wants to see.''

Williams hasn't fought since his controversial victory over Francois Botha in Brisbane in February, a clash the South African appeared to be on the brink of winning until it was called off early.

It has been reported that Williams has a fight lined up against three-time Australian heavyweight champion Bob Mirovic, who at 47 years old is well past his best.

Revill said if Williams and Nasser negotiated for a fight in eight to 10 months that would be fine by him.

"Khoder Nasser is going to see this here [offer] and he's either going to come up with a deal himself or Sonny is going to lose the title.''

- APNZ

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