The Mercury

Can Sonny Bill dole out a hiding?

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WELLINGTON: The profession­al boxing career of All Blacks rugby star Sonny Bill Williams faces a new credibilit­y test after revelation­s that his next opponent is on welfare for a disability which prevents him from working.

Williams will face 43year-old Tongan gospel singer Alipate Liava’a in a six-round heavyweigh­t bout in Auckland on Sunday.

Liava’a is now being investigat­ed by New Zealand welfare authoritie­s as he claims he cannot find a job because he has tennis elbow.

Sunday’s bout will be the fourth of Williams’s profession­al career and follows fights with a New Zealand nightclub bouncer and an Australian forklift driver.

Liava’a stands to earn NZ$6 000 (R33 124) from the fight and intends to use the money to finance an album of gospel songs.

Meanwhile, All Black stalwart Mils Muliaina announced yesterday he would play club rugby in Japan after this year’s World Cup in New Zealand.

Fullback Muliaina, who shares the record number of 94 All Black Test caps with New Zealand skipper Richie McCaw, said he had signed a two-year contract with Japanese club NTT Docomo from next year.

The move will effectivel­y mean the end of Muliaina's internatio­nal career, as the All Blacks do not consider overseas-based players for selection.

Former All Black flanker Rodney So’oialo also announced yesterday he would play in Japan next year after signing a two-year deal with Honda Heat. – Sapa-AP-AFP

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