Boxing: Sonny Bill Williams keen to fight Mike Tyson in charity bout

Former All Blacks midfielder Sonny Bill Wlliams says it would be a "career highlight" to step inside the ring with American boxing legend Mike Tyson.

Last month, 'Iron Mike' revealed his ambitions to return to the ring for charity fights, and social media videos reveal he still possesses his legendary punching power. 

On Wednesday, Williams' name was floated around by Australian boxing promoter Brian Amatruda, who had been in touch with Tyson's people about a possible fight in Australia worth $1 million.

Tyson recently rubbished the reports, calling them "totally false" on Twitter, before deleting the post, but that hasn't stopped Williams from weighing in on the prospect of fighting one of the best boxers in heavyweight history. 

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Williams said he'd followed Tyson's career from a young age, adding it would be an honour to get in the ring with him.

"I grew up watching Tyson and his fights," said Williams. "It's hard not to admire the power and ferocity of Tyson like so many other sports people around the world.

"It would be a humbling and surreal moment in my life to stare at him and know I was facing one of the greats of the sport. It would be an honour... a career highlight to share the ring with an iconic figure of world sport.

Mike Tyson.
Mike Tyson. Photo credit: Getty

"If it's for a good cause, I'd love to get in the ring with Mike Tyson."

Amatruda also listed former AFL star Barry Hall and former Cronulla Sharks captain Paul Gallen as other possible opponents, but Williams is being talked about the most. 

After signing with the Canadian rugby league club the Toronto Wolfpack (who are currently based in Manchester) in late 2019, WIlliams confirmed his intentions to return to the ring after the 2020 English Super League season. 

In February, a fight against Hall was being touted. 

Williams and his agent Khoder Nasser refused to comment on the remarks made by former Aussie boxer Jeff Fenech, who claimed Tyson would be up for "manslaughter" if he stepped in the ring with any of the three men Amatruda listed.

A Wolfpack spokesperson told the Sun: "Sonny can fight with the club's permission during the off-season. He hasn't asked yet but we are following up with his agent to see if it is for real. It could be a hell of a fight." 

Williams hasn't fought in the ring professionally since 2015 when he held the NZ heavyweight title, but in 2018, he had an exhibition bout against Australian reality TV personality Stu Laundy in Sydney to raise money for homeless charities. 

Boxing: Sonny Bill Williams keen to fight Mike Tyson in charity bout

Gallen also said he would jump at the chance to face boxing royalty, but thinks it'll take more money to get the 53-year-old to  Australia. 

"I know who Brian Amatruda is - he's a reputable promoter. But I haven't spoken to Brian Amatruda myself, and to think that Mike Tyson's going to come to Australia and fight for $1 million I think is a bit far-fetched," he told Wide World of Sports on Thursday. 

Tyson is more likely to face old rival Evander Holyfield, who earlier this week confirmed his intentions to get back in the ring at 57. 

Holyfield defeated Tyson in 1996 via 11th round TKO and again in a rematch in 1997 via disqualification in the infamous 'Bite Fight'.

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