Former world middleweight champion Andy Lee has achieved another coaching triumph that will bring joy to a host of retired GAA stars.
Two-time All Blacks World Cup winner Sonny Bill Williams, who was coached by Lee, took just one minute and 55 seconds to knock out former Aussie Rules hardman Barry Hall in a heavyweight contest today in Sydney.
Hall ran amok at Croke Park in a brutal international friendly between Ireland and Australia in 2006. In the second test, fights broke out between the players even before the ball was thrown in. The game itself was a lawless affair, culminating in Meath’s Graham Geraghty being knocked unconscious.
Hall, now 45, also played in the 2003 International Series. He had a checkered career in the AFL. While leading the Sydney Swans to victory in the 2005 Grand Final, he faced a total of seven disciplinary actions during his time in the game, including one incident in which he fractured an opponent’s jaw in three places.
He was a talented boxer in his teens and considered turning pro when he retired from the AFL. However, he only fought once in 2019 before facing Williams, who now boasts a 9-0 record.
Williams, who represented his native New Zealand in both rugby league and union, trained in Dublin for the celebrity fight under Lee’s supervision.
He earned 58 caps for the All Blacks and was part of the teams that won the 2011 and 2015 World Cups. He also played rugby sevens for New Zealand and competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics. He retired from rugby a year ago.
At the weigh-in Hall headbutted Williams, but when the real action began in a Sydney theater Williams was clearly the champion and showed no mercy to his older opponent.
Celebrity boxing competitions between aging stars from different codes have become big business, thanks largely to the exploits of YouTuber Jake Paul. Williams – who now lives in Sydney – is likely to see action in the ring again this year.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/other-sports/boxing/watch-andy-lee-trains-sonny-bill-williams-to-win-as-he-kos-former-afl-hardman-barry-hall-in-under-two-minutes-41480153.html Watch: Andy Lee trains Sonny Bill Williams to win as he KOs former AFL hardman Barry Hall in under two minutes