The All Blacks legend is likely to be named as the headline act in a resuscitated Fight for Life promotion in New Zealand.
The charity boxing night, run by former Kiwi rugby league international and Canberra Raider Dean Lonergan, was a regular annual fixture on the New Zealand sporting calendar. It hasn’t been staged for five years, but it is understood it will return in early December at an Auckland venue.
Lomu, a longstanding boxing fan, was immediately keen to pull on the gloves. He has been playing lower-division rugby in France, but is already in boxing training and desperate to take on Williams, who has had three fights in his fledgling boxing career and is ready for a fourth.
While it’s understood Lomu doesn’t figure on Williams’s radar, it hasn’t dissuaded the All Blacks superstar nominating Williams as his preferred opponent.
But if Williams won’t front, Lomu is likely to fight one of the toughest league players of recent times – the former Kangaroos back-rower Gorden Tallis.
Lonergan ran the Fight for Life promotion for seven years until 2007, raising a reported $3 million for charity. A show bout featuring All Blacks enforcer Buck Shelford against Kiwi league hardman Mark Graham had an audience that put it among the top 10 New Zealand television drawcards of all time.
The night will be promoted as a rugby v league battle, appealing to the parochialism of each codes’ followers. Lonergan has been pursuing a list of recently retired greats with reputations for toughness.
As well as Lomu and Tallis, among those lined up to fight are former Kiwis Joe Vagana, Awen Guttenbeil and Monty Betham, dual-code Australian international Wendell Sailor and even French rugby legend Sebastien Chabal. Top amateur boxing prospect Joseph Parker, who led the New Zealand Commonwealth Games boxing team, could also feature. But Lomu would be the big scalp and a deal with him could be signed off as early as this week.