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Mundine loss spurred me on: Sonny Bill
Laine Clark
19:55 AEST Thu Jan 27 2011

Watching his mentor Anthony Mundine suffer a shock knockout provided Sonny Bill Williams a sobering reminder of the risk of juggling boxing with a lucrative rugby career.

But he wouldn't have it any other way.

In an unorthodox move, Williams will contest his third professional fight on Saturday night on the Gold Coast hours before flying out to start Super Rugby pre-season training with the Crusaders.

He also plans to contest another bout when the Crusaders have a bye - either in early April or June.

His knockers - and he knows he has many - believe Williams is tempting fate.

Why risk injury, especially when he has the chance to represent New Zealand when they host the 2011 World Cup?

And Williams does not have to be reminded of boxing's pitfalls after Garth Wood's boilover win over Mundine last December.

But if anything, Williams has been spurred on to excel in both boxing and rugby following his good friend Mundine's upset loss.

Mundine will be in Williams' corner when he takes on Sydney's Scott Lewis in their heavyweight clash at the Gold Coast Convention Centre on Saturday.

"The way he (Mundine) conducted himself (after the loss) pushed me," Williams told AAP.

"I would have no one else but him in my corner because we feed off each other.

"I believe that loss has happened to give him the motivation that he needs to become world champion again.

"Choc (Mundine) and I are the same.

"People are always saying we can't do this and can't do that, but we want to be the best and that's what drives us."

Williams will get his best indication yet of how far he can go in boxing when he takes on Lewis - the man who defeated ex-rugby league international Carl Webb last year.

"For me it's about pushing the sporting boundaries, by showing some things are possible," Williams said.

"I might have my knockers but I am pretty driven and know what works for me, and I do want to test the waters.

"Maybeif he knocks me out I won't be around (boxing) any more.

"But I feel I have got the attributes and the drive to do something serious."

Williams has the full backing of the New Zealand Rugby Union for the fight and is currently aiming for two bouts a year as he builds his boxing resume.

But surely contesting a professional bout hours before starting a Super Rugby pre-season must raise eyebrows?

"You have to take risks in life," Williams said.

"You could injure yourself playing touch or falling off a treadmill - but if you worry about things like that where are you going to be?

"I have been straight up with the NZRU and said to them I want to incorporate boxing.

"And the proof is in the pudding. The last couple of years I have played my best rugby - that's due to the fact that I have done boxing."


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