Sonny Bill Williams believes his January boxing bout will give him a better chance of securing a spot in the All Blacks' World Cup squad.
Williams announced today at a press conference in Sydney that he will fight 35-year-old forklift driver Scott Lewis in Newcastle on January 29.
The 24-year-old's third professional fight, and his first as the main event, will happen just days before he is expected back at Crusaders' training to prepare for the Super Rugby season.
It leaves a tight timeline for the four Test All Black but he thinks the boxing training can only help his preparation for the rugby season.
"It's about not sitting around doing nothing, I've got a big year coming up, Williams said.
"I have the Super 15 and trying to get back in there with the ABs with the World Cup coming up and for me I feel like this is the way to do it."
In his brief six month stint in New Zealand rugby SBW has already confirmed himself as a unique talent. His off-loading ability has set him apart from his peers and he thinks the sport of boxing can only enhance his skills.
"A lot of people seem to forget that in the boxing ring for myself you're working on footwork you're working on angles, working on timing and that's what I do on the field too," he said.
"For me I'm just trying to push the sporting boundaries and that's what I'm trying to do."
He is adamant however that he hasn't pushed the boundaries of his NZRU contract and he says his main employers have been fully aware of his plans.
"I've been up front with the NZRU they knew I was going to have a bout so there's no surprises there."
The NZRU confirmed in an email this afternoon that was the case and in fact think "that his boxing training regime and the bout itself won't impact on his preparations for the Super Rugby season."