Sonny Bill Williams in Joseph Parker's corner for Derek Chisora bout

Ex-rugby star Sonny Bill Williams once left Joseph Parker with a bloody nose and now he will be in his corner to learn from the former heavyweight champion in rematch with Derek Chisora

  • Joseph Parker will face Derek Chisora in their rematch on Saturday 
  • Retired rugby star Sonny Bill Williams will be in the corner of Parker
  • Williams is there to learn as he looks to relaunch his own boxing career 
  • Parker’s relationship with Sonny Bill goes back to before he turned pro in 2012

The first time Sonny Bill Williams traded blows with Joseph Parker, he left the former world heavyweight champion with a bloody nose. 

Talk later swelled about a possible clash between two New Zealand sporting icons. Over recent days, they have shared a ring once more.

‘I spoke to him on the Friday,’ Williams says. ‘And then on Sunday I was there – in Morecambe!’

Joseph Parker is set to have his rematch with Derek Chisora in Manchester on Saturday

Sonny Bill Williams will be alongside Parker for his fight with Chisora on Saturday

The retired dual-code rugby star is now alongside Parker in Manchester for Saturday’s rematch with Derek Chisora.

Williams is here to support, and to learn – early next year the 36-year-old will relaunch his own boxing career.

‘I gave my heart and soul to rugby and rugby league and accomplished everything I wanted,’ Williams says.

‘I’m pretty settled in my life… but I still feel pretty good. I’ve had eight fights, I’d love to have another 10… in two years.’

Sonny Bill turned to boxing in 2009 to pay off debts. Three years later, he collected one slice of the New Zealand heavyweight title.

Williams once left Parker with a bloody nose when sparring with the ex-rugby star now looking to relaunch his boxing career 

Now his training partners include Parker and female sensation Katie Taylor.

‘The biggest growth I’ve had – whether it be rugby or rugby league – is surrounding myself with the best players in the world. When I first went to rugby I saddled up alongside the great Jonny Wilkinson and he taught me a hell of a lot,’ Williams says.

This week Chisora has offered his own… unique lessons in top level boxing.

He used his public workout to play musical chairs – Williams was among the contestants.

Chisora used his public workout to play musical chairs with Williams one of the contestants

At Thursday’s press conference, Sonny Bill sat at the back as Chisora took a vow of silence and Eddie Hearn belted out Bohemian Rhapsody.

There has been some boxing. Williams, Parker and Taylor enjoyed a workout at Ricky Hatton’s gym. He has trained at Tyson Fury’s base in Morecambe.

‘We went down to the beach one day, and we couldn’t see the water!’ Sonny Bill says.

His relationship with Parker goes way back – to before the boxer turned pro in 2012.

‘Then when he started getting into boxing,’ Parker says, ‘I went to help him out with sparring. He gave me a bleeding nose.’ Round two never materialised but a relationship blossomed. 

The Auckland natives have shared tales of pre-game preparation with one another.

Parkers relationship with Sonny Bill goes well back before the boxer turned pro in 2012

‘We’re both of Samoan heritage so we understand each other and what we go through,’ Parker says.

Those bonds were tested in 2013, when Parker’s team tried to goad Williams into a fight, vowing to expose his ‘myth’.

‘We went quiet,’ Parker says. ‘But we’re back now, back as brothers.’

So what is Williams’ role tonight? ‘He’ll probably be holding up the flags and representing because we’re both from Samoa and New Zealand,’ Parker says.

Then on Sunday Sonny Bill will return to Australia. ‘Hopefully in the future I’ll come back over and do a few weeks,’ he says. That could mean training alongside Fury, and joining a Morecambe tradition: ‘F*** ‘em up Fridays’ – 15 gruelling rounds.

‘It’s just (about) the challenge… if I dedicate myself to it for 24 months, seeing where I am,’ Sonny Bill says. ‘There’s something about boxing that just gets you.

‘Parker vs Chisora II will be shown on DAZN. To sign up, visit’

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