EWN Exclusive: SBW prepares for 'risky step' against Botha
Former All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams is wary of Francois Botha ahead of their boxing match.
CAPE TOWN - Former All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams has told Eyewitness News Sport that his likely heavyweight boxing bout against South Africa's Francois Botha, is a 'risky step'.
The details of the fight have yet to be finalised, with Williams saying an announcement will definitely be made next week.
EWN Sport understands that the fight has been confirmed with just the final venue to be decided.
The fight is set to take place on 17 November and likely to be in New Zealand, with Durban the South African alternative.
The 27-year old, who recently put a halt to his All Blacks career and is playing in Japan for the Panasonic Wild Knights, is the current New Zealand heavyweight champion after beating Clarence Tillman in February.
Williams will be taking up a one year deal for an as yet unnamed club in the National Rugby League in 2013.
Botha has fought some of the biggest names in the sport including the likes of Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Michael Moorer, Wladimir Klitschko and Evander Holyfield in 2010 who was 47 at the time.
Williams told EWN Sport this fight is the continued part of his development as a boxer. But, that he does runs the risk of being knocked out by a big punch from the White Buffalo, as Botha is known.
"If he does give me a couple of his big shots that he has, that certainly could happen. But for me it's just about when I am in fight-mode, about improving everyday.
"I didn't have the luxury of growing up fighting or learning the craft from a young age. I've only been doing it for a couple of years and it's a step in the right direction.
"Obviously it's a risky step, I guess. I will be nervous but excited."
A reportedly poorly conditioned Botha fought last on 8 September, losing on points to Andrea Pianeta in Germany. Williams, who is undefeated in five career bouts, concedes that his opponent's experience counts against him.
"He's been around the game for a long time, for a lot longer that I have. If it does get agreed upon I will have my nerves. He is a big name in the sport but it's exciting times as well. I will be putting myself out there definitely because a lot of people will be thinking he will be able to knock me out."
"He (Botha) knows how to handle himself in the ring, he just went and fought for the world title with another 27-year-old (Pianeta), went the distance, he is no slouch. For me to look to advance, I have got to look to take up these kind of challenges but I am still trying to learn my craft, that will just come down to a lot of hard work once and I get into to fight mode and working with a trainer again."
With the fight set for November and the announcement only due next week, Williams told EWN Sport that for now he's focused solely on his rugby.
"We got a big game for Panasonic on Saturday playing Toshiba. My primary focus will be on winning that. Next week we have a bye so it would be good to try work things out after this game with Toshiba because I have a couple of days where I can really just think about what's happening. It will be good to get that all finalised."
The venue for the fight is thought to be the final point to be concluded on the contract. With it either taking place in New Zealand or, if in South Africa, then in KwaZulu-Natal.
"If it's in South Africa, they are talking Durban but if it was up to me I would love to have a fight in Cape Town. The amount of support I had when we played in Cape Town last year was unbelievable so it would be pretty cool and special to have a fight there."
Williams is playing for his Japanese club until the end of the season before making a return to rugby league for at least a year. His signature was one of the most sought after in the sport and he told us that while he knows where his future lies, he can't confirm the destination just yet.
"I have a pretty fair idea of what I am doing I am just waiting on the club to get the finer details all sorted and waiting on the go ahead from those guys to announce it."