Patrick McKendry

Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Boxing: Messam prepares to put gloves on again

Liam Messam (L) throws an uppercut at Wendell Sailor during the Fight For Life League vs Union last year. Photo / Getty Images.
Liam Messam (L) throws an uppercut at Wendell Sailor during the Fight For Life League vs Union last year. Photo / Getty Images.

There will be no rest for Liam Messam immediately after the All Blacks' northern hemisphere tour. Instead, he has decided to follow up a season in which he has excelled in a black jersey and collected another Super Rugby title by putting on the gloves in December's Fight for Life event.

It will be Messam's second bout after his points victory over Wendell Sailor two years ago and this time he will fight another Australian - a yet to be confirmed member of the Kangaroos' rugby league team.

"I don't want to get too comfortable after a successful year. It takes me out of my comfort zone and keeps pushing me,'' Messam said.

The loose forward said he hadn't done much boxing training and wouldn't do much on the All Blacks' tour. He leaves for Paris on Friday with his teammates not considered for Saturday's test against Japan in Tokyo. He is putting his faith in an intensive fortnight at home after he returns from tests against France, England and Ireland.

Messam will fight on the undercard of Shane Cameron's heavyweight fight at Waitakere's Trusts Arena on December 14. All Blacks teammate Piri Weepu, now on the NZ Maori tour of Canada and the United States, is also on the card.

Messam, who became close friends with Sonny Bill Williams when the current Kiwis player was at the Chiefs, has followed his mate into the fight game. Asked if he was improving as a fighter, Messam, who looked good against Sailor, said: "I'm still getting hit in the head so probably not.''

While Williams has decided against returning to the Chiefs for next season, preferring to stay with the Roosters in the NRL, Messam said playing in a squad which included some well performed newcomers from Tasman including fullback Tom Marshall, wing James Lowe and No8 Liam Squire, plus the experience of former All Black Mils Muliaina _ back from Japan - was an exciting prospect.

"We've got some outstanding young talent, especially the boys from Tasman, they've had an outstanding year. I think they're going to really thrive in our culture. Having Mils back also, having that leadership that would have been missing with Craig Clarke leaving, I guess ties that whole group together.''

- APNZ

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