Sonny Bill vows to fight Barry Hall

Sonny Bill Williams will come back to Australia, but it's more likely to be as a boxer than an NRL player.

Williams brought his star power to Arsenal's Emirates Stadium in north London for his first press conference as the marquee player for the Toronto Wolfpack on Thursday night.

 

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(L-R) Bob Hunter, CEO of Toronto Wolfpack, Sonny Bill Williams and Brian McDermott, Head Coach of Toronto Wolfpack. Picture: Getty
(L-R) Bob Hunter, CEO of Toronto Wolfpack, Sonny Bill Williams and Brian McDermott, Head Coach of Toronto Wolfpack. Picture: Getty

His $10 million two-year deal is more than some English Super League clubs pay their entire roster for a season.

And a "glass half-full" Williams said he plans to try to bring the game of rugby league to the North American market using his profile.

Sonny Bill Williams of New Zealand sits on the pitch with his daughter after making his last appearance for New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup. Picture: Getty
Sonny Bill Williams of New Zealand sits on the pitch with his daughter after making his last appearance for New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup. Picture: Getty

Williams also said he would honour his commitment to fight former NRL player Paul Gallen, which was included in his contract with Toronto.

Gallen will line up against former Sydney Swan Barry Hall at Margaret Court Arena on Friday night (November 15).

Sonny Bill Williams in the ring. Picture: Getty
Sonny Bill Williams in the ring. Picture: Getty

Gallen's fight with Williams had been conditional on him keeping an undefeated record but last night the new Toronto player opened the door to fight Hall if he pulled off an unlikely win.

"I've had it in my contract throughout my career that clause so whether its Paul Gallen or Barry Hall, or whoever, time will tell," he said.

"It will be interesting, I'm really interested in that fight. There's been a lot of talk from both camps, I'm not sure … time will tell."

Paul Gallen. Picture: AAP
Paul Gallen. Picture: AAP

 

Barry Hall. Picture: AAP
Barry Hall. Picture: AAP

Williams was diplomatic when asked who would win.

"Barry has been out of the ring for what, since he was 18, he's 42 now. Gal (Gallen) has been fighting consistently for the last few years so that will probably give him the advantage. Boxing is a fickle sport so we will see how it goes," he said.

Paul Gallen (left) and Barry Hall face off as promoter Danny Green looks on. Picture: AAP
Paul Gallen (left) and Barry Hall face off as promoter Danny Green looks on. Picture: AAP

Williams, 34, closed the door on an NRL career after his contract with Toronto expires.

"I'll be 36 once this contract finishes so I don't think I'll be going back to Australia any time soon," he said.

"My wife might love Toronto, we might even live there, so who knows, at the start of this year I didn't expect to be sitting here now. We're here, we're riding that wave."

The rugby star was compared to Le Bron James by Toronto's chairman Bob Hunter, as coach Brian McDermott also welcomed him to the club.

The signing for Toronto, who were promoted to the English Super League for the 2020 season, was "monumental", Hunter said.

McDermott said the club had signed a "world class international player".

He also revealed the deal was done with a meeting in Japan, where the pair "machine gunned" each other with questions.

"The whole night boiled down to one question, are you coming to be a rugby league player?" McDermott said.

"He more than assured me he's here to earn the respect. (He said) I need to earn the respect of everyone at the club before I become what you think you've signed up."

McDermott said he expected the best of Williams in the final third of the English Super League season.

Williams will return to Australia for a training camp in the coming weeks as he makes sure he prepares his body to be at his best for his new club.

 

stephen.drill@news.co.uk

News Corp Australia


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