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Boxing: Rugby star Williams stripped of titles

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Cross-code rugby star Sonny Bill Williams has been stripped of his two boxing titles, with officials saying they are "disgusted" with the way they have been treated by his management.

Williams lost his New Zealand heavyweight crown on Sunday after being stripped of his "international" belt by the World Boxing Association last week for failing to defend his titles within six months.

New Zealand Professional Boxing Association secretary Pat Leonard told AFP they tried several times to make contact with Williams' Australia-based manager Khoder Nasser without success.

"We have now declared the title to be vacant," he said.

Leonard said New Zealand boxing officials initially did not enforce the six-month requirement because of a lack of legitimate challengers.

But they resumed trying to contact Nasser in earnest after a challenge was laid by rising heavyweight Joseph Parker in July.

"We're disgusted at not being treated to the courtesy of a reply. We've had no reply, not even an acknowledgement from them whatsoever."

"We have heard statements that he (Williams) wants to hang his gloves up for three years," Leonard said.

"We believe we have been over-generous in holding off (enforcing a fight) but we are certainly not going to extend it that far."

Williams, a member of the rugby union World Cup winning All Blacks in 2011 and this year's international rugby league player of the year, recently announced his boxing ambitions were on hold.

The 28-year-old said his target was to return to rugby union in 2015 with the aim of again making the All Blacks for the World Cup and the New Zealand Sevens squad heading to the Olympic Games in 2016.

cf/ajc/dh

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131215/boxing-rugby-star-williams-stripped-titles