With Richard Tutaki no longer Sonny Bill Williams’ opponent for his February 8 bout, it is possible that he could be replaced with the toughest opponent the World Cup winning All Black has ever faced.
Tutaki was arrested after failing to appear in court this week, so Williams and his manager Khoder Nasser are moving quickly to find a replacement boxer to duel with the All Blacks midfielder / wing for the vacant New Zealand heavyweight title.
The Sunday Star Times reported that Clarence Tillman is potentially being lined up, something that allblacks.com confirmed with the American born New Zealand heavyweight recently fighting on December 3 at the Fight Club in Ellerslie, while the 11-8-2 boxer is tentatively scheduled to confront an unnamed opponent on the 23rd March.
Tillman is ironically the last boxer to cross paths with Tutaki, who won with a split decision to give Williams’ cancelled opponent his fourth loss in five fights and 21st overall.
The proposition of Williams facing the 196cm, approximately 125-132 kg Tillman, who has only lost one of his last six and fought eight times last year, could be a very serious test of the All Blacks credentials in the squared circle.
Williams told the Sunday Star-Times he was disappointed but looking forward to his greatest challenge as a pugilist.
"I was just absolutely gutted when I found out, man. That was probably my initial feeling," he said.
"For the last three or four weeks I've been training with Richard in mind. But I was told that all was not lost and that I will still be able to fight for the belt.
"The New Zealand Boxing Association has put forward a couple of names and that's a good thing because I'll still be fighting on February 8. On one hand I'm pretty gutted and still disappointed. But on the other hand, the fight's still going to happen on February 8 and now it's just a case of changing my opponent.
"The class is definitely a step up from what I've been fighting."