By Jake Donovan
Damien Hooper lived up to a pre-fight promise vowing to punish Joel Casey in their light heavyweight fight, scoring a 7th round stoppage Wednesday evening at Jupiters Hotel & Casino in Broadbeach, Australia.
Three knockdowns paved the way for the mercy stoppage, which came at 1:29 of round seven.
The punishment was slow and steady, as Hooper showed poise and discipline by boxing in the early rounds. Casey, overmatched on paper and in reality, had no answers for the unbeaten prospect, who built up an early lead as he subtly turned up the intensity with each passing round.
Pitching a shutout through six rounds, Hooper closed the show in round seven. Combination punching set up Casey for a pair of vicious left hooks to the body, flooring the journeyman for the first time in the fight. To his credit, Casey bravely rose to his feet willing to fight on, but was already a virtual dead man walking.
Hooper scored two more knockdowns before forcing referee Adrian Cairns to stop the contest.
With the win, Hooper rolls to 9-0 (8KOs); Casey heads in the opposite direction, losing his 6th straight as he falls to 15-14-3 (10KOs).
As the wins pile up, Hooper continues to gain momentum in popularity simply by marching to the beat of his own drum.
The former amateur standout was a member of the 2012 Australia Olympic Boxing squad, a run that included a win over American light heavyweight Marcus Browne. However, Hooper's representation came with a scolding from the Australian government over his choice to wear an unsanctioned shirt sporting the Australian Aboriginal flag, symbolizing his heritage as a descendant of Indigenous Australians.
A forced apology followed, only because the action violated the Olympic Charter, which bans the display of any political, religious or racial propoganda. Still, Hooper remains true to his roots, as his ring trunks proudly display the colors of the flag representing the land's original inhabitants.
Hooper is scheduled to return to the ring in October, appearing in the very same hosting venue as Wednesday's contest. An opponent has yet to be secured for the 22-year old prospect.
The bout aired live on Fox Sports in Australia.
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