Star recruit Zac Guildford has been granted weekend leave from NSW Waratahs pre-season training to make his boxing debut in New Zealand on Saturday.
The former All Blacks winger will joust with the Kiwi Bachelor Art Green at the Fight for Life charity event in Hamilton.
Guildford has been preparing for his fight, featuring three two-minute rounds, for almost four months.
“It’s a big charity event for Hospice Waikato, so it’s raising money for a wonderful cause,” he told the Waratahs’ website.
“Boxing was something I never saw myself doing. When the opportunity came up I was a bit 50-50 about it at first, but then I thought about the benefits I could get out of it.
“Obviously fitness is one of them and boxing, being a good discipline, is another.
“You know, when I just wanted to stay on the couch and watch TV, I had to get to get up and go boxing.
“I’m still slowly trying to progress. It’s a pretty tough sport to master and I definitely haven’t done that yet.
“You’ll probably be able to see that in my first go. I’ll be pretty dusty but hopefully Ill be able to get the win.”
Guildford is hoping the hard yakka in the ring, and intense pre-season training with the Waratahs, will help him secure a starting berth with the 2014 champions.
A classy backline utility with 79 Super Rugby caps and 10 Test matches to his credit, he’s likely to be used mostly on the wing and looks to be in an early head-to-head battle with former Parramatta NRL flyer Reece Robinson for a spot.
“I’m in the best shape I’ve been in for a long time now,” Guildford said.
“It’s been hard but it has also been quite rewarding in seeing my fitness results.
“I just wanted to come here in the best shape I possibly could, and I think boxing has really helped with that.
“My goal is to hopefully be the best winger in Super Rugby and contribute to this team as much as I can so the fitter I can be it’s only going to help.”