Sonny Bill Williams confirms rugby league retirement, signals return to boxing

Sonny Bill Williams has confirmed he's walking away from rugby league, intending to make a return to the boxing ring.

Williams, 35, is currently without a contract, after returning from UK Super League club Toronto Wolfpack to take up a one-year contract with the Sydney Roosters in the NRL last year.

The former cross-code star exits the 13-man code with 123 first-grade appearances under his belt, winning two NRL premierships - one with the Bulldogs in 2004 and a second with the Roosters in 2013.

Williams was also a serial winner in his rugby union career, lifting the Rugby World Cup with the All Blacks twice, in both 2011 and 2015, as well as two Super Rugby titles with the Chiefs in 2012 and 2013. 

Williams called time on his rugby playing career after the 2019 World Cup in Japan, finishing with 58 test caps.

Speaking to Australia's Channel Nine, Williams signalled that injury worries in his knees were responsible for him hanging up his boots.

"I was humble enough to understand my knee couldn't meet the demands although the mind wanted to of the week-in and week-out footy, especially in the NRL," he says.

However, while Williams will stay on with the Roosters in a mentoring capacity, the former All Black has also confirmed his desire to return to the ring.

"I spoke to my manager, I said 'bro I'm keen to get back into the ring, I've got a couple of years, I'm 35'," Williams says.

"I spoke to the wife first and she had blank eyes but like usual, she supported me.

"I want to know how I will go in six months instead of six weeks."

Williams' boxing record currently stands at seven wins from his seven fights, but hasn't fought since 2015, defeating Chauncy Welliver in Sydney. 

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