Sonny Bill Williams performs the haka with New Zealand last month. Inpho/Billy Stickland

Sonny Bill Williams and Quade Cooper get approval to fight again

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen gave his blessing for SBW to fight, while Cooper got sign-off from the ARU.

CODE-HOPPING STAR Sonny Bill Williams and Wallaby Quade Cooper will headline a ‘fight night’ in Australia next month in a line-up that also includes rugby league player Paul Gallen.

Williams, who returned to the All Blacks this year after a two-year stint with the NRL’s Sydney Roosters, will take on American Chauncy Welliver in the January 31 event in Sydney.

In his last fight in February, Williams won a 10-round heavyweight bout against veteran South African Frans Botha.

The former World Cup-winning All Black star, in only his sixth professional fight, won the points on all three of the ringside judges’ cards against the vastly experienced but ageing South African.

Cooper’s opponent is as yet unnamed, but the fly-half had an impressive fourth round knockout win in his second professional fight in January.

The 26-year-old floored former cage fighter Warren “The Fortress” Tresidder, 40, to keep his win record intact.

Cooper welcomed the Australian Rugby Union’s approval for the off-season fight, saying he believed boxing kept him fit and as competitive as possible.

AustraliaÕs Quade Cooper  29/11//2014 Cooper played in Ireland with the Wallabies in November. Inpho / Billy Stickland Inpho / Billy Stickland / Billy Stickland

“Every player talks about ways of getting extra percentages — whether it be half a percent, one percent or two percent, and I think boxing is my edge,” he said.

Williams said he had also sought permission from All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.

The major concern for myself was getting his approval,” Williams said. “He said that as long as I don’t get knocked out, he’s happy with it. So hopefully that’s the plan.”

Cronulla Sharks player Gallen’s opponent has not yet been named.

- © AFP, 2014

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