Promoters are looking for a new boxer to take on Sonny Bill Williams after they discovered planned opponent Richard Tutaki was facing criminal charges.
New Zealand Professional Boxing Association president Lance Revill said Williams would still be fighting at Claudelands Arena in Hamilton on February 8, but a new opponent was being sought.
Tutaki's name had been one of five originally put forward to fight promoter Khoder Nasser, and of the other four the most likely replacement would be big Aucklander Joey Wilson.
Revill said Wilson's trainer had previously queried why his fighter was not given a chance to take on Williams, who is a dual rugby and league international.
The decision to drop Tutaki was made last night by Nasser, after it was discovered the original opponent was facing charges.
The New Zealand Herald reported Tutaki faces more than 10 charges. They include possession of methamphetamine and drug utensils, breach of bail, three counts of receiving stolen property, unlawfully getting into a motor vehicle, dangerous driving, failing to stop for police, failing to remain stopped and giving false details to police.
After failing to turn up to court Tutaki was arrested on a warrant on Tuesday and is in custody until his next court appearance.
Revill told Fairfax Media all the four alternative opponents were in some sort of training, so the 3-1/2 weeks before the bout was plenty of time to get in fighting shape.
"You can get yourself ready in no time at all if you keep yourself in reasonably good condition," Revill said.
"This is nothing new in boxing. It happens all around the world."
It was up to Nasser to choose the opponent for Williams.
- © Fairfax NZ News