Former All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams has suffered the first defeat of his professional boxing career, after he was knocked out by former UFC star Mark Hunt during their bout in Australia.
The 37-year old had experienced an excellent start to his career in combat sports, entering the fight with a 9-0 record.
He was seen as the favourite for the fight in Sydney, with his opponent having lost during his only previous appearance in a boxing ring back in 2020.
Sonny Bill Williams knocked out by Mark Hunt
Sonny Bill Williams has taken his venture into the world of boxing very seriously, working with some of the top coaches in the sport. He also spent a number of weeks in Ireland earlier this year to train alongside Andy Lee.
However, he failed to live with the punching power of Hunt on this occasion.
The ex-rugby star would be knocked out in the fourth round of the fight on the back of a flurry of strong punches from his opponent.
The legend Mark Hunt (1-2-1) with a TKO-3 win over Sonny Bill Williams (9-1). pic.twitter.com/ljJZ6CIJyq
— Permante (@PermantexG) November 5, 2022
Mark Hunt was part of the UFC from 2010 to 2018, fighting for the interim heavyweight title against Fabrício Werdum back in 2014. His only previous foray into boxing was a unanimous decision loss to former rugby league star Paul Gallen in 2020, going on to announce his retirement in the aftermath of this contest.
As for Sonny Bill Williams, he also admitted that his future in the sport was uncertain (h/t Sporting News):
For me, what’s in the future? I’m not too sure.
At this stage, I’m not even sure if I’ll fight again. It could be it for me, too. But we’ll see how the next couple of weeks unfold.
The Kiwi won 58 caps for New Zealand in 2010s, being part of their World Cup winning squads in 2011 and 2015. He has also played rugby league at a professional level, most recently for the Sydney Roosters in 2020.