Cooper gears up for debut
Tokoroa rugby star Quade Cooper will fight Barry Dunnett when he makes his professional boxing debut next month.
Dunnett, a Muay Thai veteran, also has a couple of boxing bouts on his record. He has been named as the opponent to face the Queensland Reds and Wallabies star when he steps into the ring on February 8 in Brisbane.
Cooper has impressed in his work in the inner- city gym in Brisbane’s north where he has based himself in preparation for the fight.
Dunnett also used to train at Shannon King’s Corporate Box facility and King said the 32-yearold had some credentials as a fighter.
’’He’s fought for a Queensland light- heavyweight Thai boxing title. He’s had two pro- boxing fights, one win and one loss, in 2010,’’ King said. ‘‘He’s not a basketball player turned boxer. It’s all he’s done for the past eight years as a sport. If he goes down, it will be because he’s sleeping, or because he’s got a rib pushing on a vital organ. He won’t give up.’’
Dunnett has reportedly fought 15 times under Muay Thai rules, which allow elbows and knees, aside from the two boxing bouts.
Amarbir Singh knocked him out in the first round in a lightheavyweight fight in Sydney and just six days later, Dunnett beat Jason Steward in a split decision through four rounds at Airlie Beach in north Queensland.
Cooper has been fitting his fight training around his pre-season training at Ballymore and both his rugby and boxing coaches are delighted with his progress.
The fight will appear on the undercard of Sonny Bill Williams’s heavyweight bout with Francois Botha at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
FIGHTING FIT: Former Tokoroa old boy Quade Cooper steps into the boxing ring next month.