Boxer eyes turning pro

Damien Hooper said his Olympic defeat will mark the end of his amateur boxing career as he looks to turn pro.
Damien Hooper said his Olympic defeat will mark the end of his amateur boxing career as he looks to turn pro. Getty Images

DALBY boxer Damien Hooper may have bowed out of the London Olympics earlier than expected but the 20-year-old believes the time is right to turn professional.

The light-heavyweight went down 19-11 to Russian fourth seed Egor Mekhontsev in the Round of 16 yesterday morning (AEST).

Hooper was comprehensively out-boxed and was given a standing count in the third round after being knocked to the canvas by a big left hook from Mekhontsev.

But Hooper said he had learned all he could in the amateur ranks and wanted to turn professional upon returning home.

"I've showed all of Australia ... I went further than most amateur boxers ever in Australia," Hooper told media in London.

"I'm going to be exciting in the pros and that's what (gets) contracts and all them people like promoters want."

Hooper said he had already had offers but was yet to decide who he would sign with.

"I'm only 20 years old, I've got a long way ahead of me, I'm still learning in the game," he said.

"I want to learn as much as I can and maintain it and turn myself into a champion."

Leading Toowoomba boxing trainer Brendon Smith said Hooper was at the right age to forge a successful pro career.

"It's a good time depending on what he wants to do. He's been fighting at the highest of levels in amateurs," Smith said.

"Some guys stay in the amateurs for too long and it takes time to adapt to the different style.

"He has the talent and desire to be successful and he has youth on his side."

Topics:  boxing damien hooper london olympics

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