Boxing: Sonny Bill Williams 'counted out' as charity declared winner

Charity was declared the winner as All Blacks midfielder Sonny Bill Williams returned to the ring for an exhibition bout against Australian reality TV personality Stu Laundy in Sydney.

The pair squared off in the ring for four rounds to raise money for homeless charities, the Exodus Foundation and the Auckland City Mission, in an event called 'The Banger Under the Hanger'.

There were a few actual punches thrown and a rugby-style tackle attempted, but both fighters had a 'gentleman's agreement' not to bash each other.

In the end Williams was 'counted out' by the referee, but both fighters were then declared winners.

"Firstly, I just want to commend Stu and everyone here for making this great night possible," Williams said. "We raised some good money for the serious cause that it was."

Laundy was also full of praise for Williams, calling him a "lifelong friend".

"Sonny, you're a lifelong friend, thank you," he said. "A couple of those punches really hit me. I hid it pretty well, but they got me."

One of the big talking points before the fight was the ring girls. At an event earlier in the week, Williams and his agent Khoder Nasser asked for the bikini-clad women to be removed from the venue.

A devout Muslim, Williams refused to pose with them when they attended the pre-match event.

"It is what it is, and that's the business we're in," Williams said. "But for myself, I don't think it was necessary bringing them here."

The ring girls had new outfits made for the bout, which resembled a one-piece outfit.

Williams boasts wins from all of his seven professional bouts, including three KOs. His last fight was against American Chauncy Welliver in 2015.