Boxing: A bigger drawcard for athletes than ever before

First there was SBW, then Quade Cooper, and now the likes of Liam Messam and Jesse Ryder plus so many others are utilising the boxing ring for a common reason.


Perhaps the most attuned to competing in the sport of boxing outside of his regular day job is Sonny Bill Williams.

The dual international league and union star describes the process of boxing training as mentally refreshing and has said on multiple occasions that it helps his mental state of mind when playing rugby.

Liam Messam isn’t just your average New Zealand sportsman entering the ring on January 31st either.

Chiefs captain, multiple gold medal winner at the Commonwealth Games, regular All Black starter, and one of the most feared Sevens players in the world.

Messam now joins a growing list of big name sportsman from New Zealand who decide put on the boxing gloves.

It was announced today that cricketer Jesse Ryder will fight political blogger Cameron Slater in a charity boxing match in the coming weeks, and while Ryder says that fitness isn’t his main reason for the fight, his opponent Slater appears to be using boxing as a good opportunity to lose some weight.

Ryder said that boxing gives him a good reason to get away from cricket.

Ben Tameifuna has also become a regular at the KFC Fight for Life in the last couple of years.

The Real Michael Pulman interviewed and talked Tameifuna many times during the last year and one noticeable aspect with the boxing was the gruelling toll it was taking during the training process.

Tameifuna appeared much less chirpy than normal, however after the fight and the weeks of training, Tameifuna seemed to have a new sense of confidence about his game and was clearly very refreshed.

It wasn’t too long ago that many were unhappy with players like SBW tossing and trading between their main rugby commitments and boxing on the side, but slowly and surely it has become much more accepted by most, and the spectacle of the annual KFC Fight for Life has a big part in that mindset change.

Now boxing isn’t just for the proper boxers, boxing is becoming an avenue for bettering athletes perhaps more mentally than anything else.

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