Sir Bob Jones: SBW-Tillman fight a joke

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 09:35 09/02/2012
MIKE SCOTT

Sonny Bill Williams talks about his emphatic victory over Clarence Tillman III to become the New Zealand heavyweight boxing champ.

Tillman KO'd by Sonny Bill Williams in first round.
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Sonny Bill Williams celebrates after the fight.
Jaime Ridge at the Sonny Bill Williams fight
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For the winner, a kiss. Jaime Ridge shows her affection for victorious boyfriend Sonny Bill Williams.
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Bob Jones
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BOB JONES: 'How can you have a New Zealand (title) fight between a New Zealander and a foreigner? It's silliness and degrading.'

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Veteran boxing commentator and historian Sir Bob Jones has launched a withering attack on the Sonny Bill Williams-Clarence Tillman fight, saying it was degrading to boxing and a "joke from the start".

Williams beat the little-known American by way of a first round knockout in Hamilton last night, in a bout billed as a fight for the New Zealand Professional Boxing Association heavyweight title.

When asked for his views on the fight, Sir Bob made no apologies for not watching the three-minute demolition - "why would I want to watch that rubbish?" - and said the media attention it had attracted was disgraceful.

The 34-year-old Tillman was a "joke opponent", as his record (11 wins from 22 professional fights) suggested.

"Tillman's record is appalling. Five of his fights were against blokes who had never fought before and even then he lost one of them," Jones said this morning.

"Have a look at all the bouts he's had in New Zealand and Australia, his name has never once appeared in the press. He's small town. He's a joke opponent and they've built him up, and suddenly he's fighting in the limelight.

"He's hopeless. To see all this over the front page is silly. Why haven't we heard of Tillman's name before?

"The whole thing was a joke from the start. This sort of farce degrades boxing."

The win left Williams undefeated from five fights and saw him, rather dubiously, claim the New Zealand heavyweight belt.

"If he (Williams) wants to box that's his business, and same goes for Tillman, but how can you have a New Zealand (title) fight between a New Zealander and a foreigner? It's silliness and degrading," Jones said.

"I'm sorry to see Lance Revell refereeing it and taking part in it. He should know better.

"Maybe I'm being a curmudgeon at my age, but there are heaps of books about the dumbing down (of boxing) and it's getting worse and worse, the ignorance and gullibility, the hype, why would they (the public) want to watch a football player who can't box, although he's getting better of course.

"I don't wish to sound snobbish but the things that are good about boxing are not to be found in that sort of rubbish. They're to be found at the top level with certain types of boxers."

Williams now turns his attention to Super Rugby with the Chiefs, returning to training on Monday and likely to feature in their final warmup match.

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