By Jake Donovan
2012 Olympic light heavyweight Damien Hooper is already set for his next ring appearance, which comes on July 30 in his native Australia. The unbeaten prospect already has his sights set on the future, though - one that involves revisiting his past, as he longs for a fight in England.
Motivated by countryman Lucas Browne's recent knockout win in the UK and a struggle to find quality competition, Hooper is now motivated to travel abroad.
"Even though there's some great boxers here in Oz, getting them to step up and fight me isn't easy," Hooper (7-0, 6KO) claims, as evidenced by the TBA status of his next opponent. "I've already had people pull out at late notice so I think I need to look further afield for a test and where better than the UK?"
Fighting in England would benefit Hooper in a number of ways. The 22-year old represented his nation in the 2012 London Olympics - even if causing a stir when at one point flying his Aboriginal roots, rather than his nation's flag
- and has longed for a return. Such a fight would be easy to promoter, given it's where his promoter, Hatton Promotions is based.
"My good friend Michael Katsidis went to England to fight Graham Earl a few years back and that really helped his career," Hooper says, speaking of Katsidis' Fight of the Year-level knockout win over Earl in 2007. "[W]ith me having a Brit as a promoter, I think it would great me too.
"I caused a bit of controversy when I was at the Olympics, but I found London to be a great place and the people were brilliant so I can't wait to show them what I can do as a pro."
Hooper's last ring appearance came in March, extended the distance for the first time in his young career as pitched a six-round virtual shutout over Young-Don Um.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox