Cooper gears up for de­but

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

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.

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