Sonny Bill Williams boxing return sets up epic Paul Gallen prospect

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Pictured here, former footy stars-turned boxers Sonny Bill Williams and Paul Gallen.
Sonny Bill Williams's return to the boxing ring sets up the prospect of future showdown with Paul Gallen. Pic: AAP

Sonny Bill Williams is set to end a six-year boxing hiatus by stepping into the ring this weekend in a move that has set tongues wagging.

The All Blacks and rugby league legend hasn't fought professionally since 2015 when he scored a unanimous decision victory against American-Kiwi Chauncy Welliver.

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However, according to the Daily Telegraph, the 35-year-old has been training in secret in preparation for Saturday night's fight against Waikato Falefehi (2-14) in Townsville.

Williams goes into the fight at the Townsville Entertainment Centre with an undefeated record in his eight fights.

The bout against Falefehi will likely provide a stern test for Williams, considering how long it's been since he last stepped into the ring.

Sonny Bill Williams Williams is seen here fighting Chauncy Welliver in 2015.
Williams' last professional fight was against Chauncy Welliver in 2015. Pic: AAP

Fight fans are already predicting an eventual showdown with fellow league great Paul Gallen, whom Williams has been linked with fighting on numerous occasions.

Gallen is recovering from the broken rib he suffered against undefeated heavyweight Justis Huni earlier this month, in what was the first defeat of the former Cronulla and New South Wales Origin captain's professional boxing career.

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The NRL great reportedly took home some $1.275 million for the fight - with any potential bout against Williams surely to be just as lucrative.

Gallen has made no secret about his desire to fight Williams and confidently predicted last year that he would beat the two-time Rugby World Cup winner.

“Would I beat Sonny? Yes," Gallen said.

“It’d be a good fight; he’s a big guy with some experience under his belt. But I know that with the pressure I put on, if he can’t get me out of there in the first few rounds I’d come over the top of him and wear him out.”

Gallen could still take up a rematch clause that he and Huni agreed upon, before the latter's dominant 10th round TKO victory against the league legend.

However, Huni's promoter Dean Lonergan was urged Gallen not to re-enter the ring with his fighter, who was forced to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympic Games this week die to a broken hand.

Huni broke one of Gallen's ribs during his 10-round battering of the 39-year-old and Lonergan worries about an even more brutal pounding if the pair have a rematch.

"We will honour that contract," Lonergan said.

"But I've already spoken to him and said: 'Mate, you've got nothing to prove and I don't think you should do the fight'.

"I just think for his own health he shouldn't do it.

"There are other options where he can make just as much money without risking his health.

Pictured here, Paul Gallen winces after being hit in the ribs against Justis Huni.
Paul Gallen suffered a broken rib in the second round of the fight against Justis Huni. Pic: AAP

"I think he's of the mind that he's going 'that might be the smart option because I'm 39, he's going on 23. I don't know if I can get any better but he certainly will'.

"That's the other thing. Justis is only going to get better and he will damage Paul again. He's a family man. It's too big a risk."

Gallen said after his first defeat this week from 13 professional bouts he was unsure about his future.

Lonergan says taking on another former footy star like Sonny Bill represents a much smarter option for a fighter like Gallen.

"There are a number of other fighters he can fight," he said.

"Any fighter in this country, after what he just did for Justis Huni, will put their hand up to fight Paul Gallen because he brings so much to the table.

"I have a conversation with all my fighters before they sign - I only want two things for them with me: that they come out healthy and wealthy. And there ain't no point being wealthy, if you're not healthy.

"There's much safer options for Paul Gallen."

with AAP

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