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Wallabies star Cooper wants to fight on

Australian rugby player plans return to ring after first-round knockout win on pro debut

Gulf News

Sydney: Wallabies playmaker Quade Cooper said on Saturday that he loved his first taste of professional boxing and wants another bout in the ring later this year.

Cooper, 24, spectacularly won his first professional fight with a first round knockout of fellow Australian Barry Dunnett on the undercard of former World Cup-winning All Black Sonny Bill Williams’s heavyweight title fight in Brisbane on Friday night.

An enthusiastic Cooper said he wanted another fight sooner rather than later and foreshadowed a possible return to the ring after his rugby commitments were finished with the Wallabies and Queensland Reds later this year. “Once I go into the ring there’s all the lights, all the cameras — that’s where I want to be,” Cooper said. “I said to my guys afterwards I didn’t want to get out of the ring.

“I would love to have another one later on this year, although I have a big year of rugby.

“So I will just continue to train so when the window of opportunity arrives in December or something like that I will be fighting fit.”

Cooper took a couple of blows early from Dunnett before bouncing back to hurt his opponent with a powerful combination, sealing the fight within three minutes.

“I had so much fun, I can’t explain the feeling,” Cooper said. “It was such a buzz. I am not going to lie, but I was doubting whether my skill and athleticism was going to be enough. But once you get in there you’ve just got to trust your ability.”

The only downside for Cooper was that his Queensland Reds teammates had missed out on his boxing debut as they were playing in their final pre-season trial against defending Super 15 champions Waikato Chiefs at the same time as his fight.

Williams scored an unanimous points heavyweight victory over veteran South African Frans Botha in the main event of the night.