AUSTRALIAN Olympian Damien Hooper will make a huge statement when he has his first professional fight, says his trainer Gareth Williams. The light-heavyweight, who was ranked number three in the world as an amateur, makes his pro berth against the experienced Garth Murray at the Royal International Convention Centre in Brisbane next Saturday night (April 20).
And Williams believes his charge will soon have the world sitting up and taking notice of his talent.
“Damien, is going to show why he’ll be a successful pro,” Williams said. “He has a great boxing brain and a dogged determination to win.
“He has been training really hard and is so excited to show the world what he can do.
“He has been sparring heavyweights and light-heavyweights and has been controlling every round to date.”
Manager Matt Clark is also feels the 21-year-old light-heavyweight Toowoomba-native is destined for the top.
He said: “We believe in Damien’s ability and the choice of his opponent shows it. He’s in with a former state champion who’s had 11 professional fights and on a three fight win streak.
“Gareth Williams has him training the house down and he’s been very sharp in sparring.
“This kid, along with his friend Cameron Hammond, has the potential to be Australia’s next big boxing star.”
Hooper had a glittering career in the amateur ranks, winning a gold medal at the 2010 Youth Olympics in Singapore and a silver at the Youth World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan that same year.
He signed for Hatton Promotions in early 2012 after spurning the advances of a number of other top-level promoters.