AUSTRALIAN Olympic star Damien "Super" Hopper says he's had the perfect training camp for his eagerly awaited third professional outing.
The 21-year-old light-heavyweight prospect faces Scott Taliauli at the ABA Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand on Friday night (July 5) and has been sharping his skills by sparring with the highly-rated Kiwi puncher Robert "The Butcher" Berridge.
Southpaw Berridge, who tops the bill in a WBC Asian title clash against Shintaro Matsumoto, has had 21 paid fights and knocked out solid opposition in the likes Serge Yannick and Trent Broadhurst so provided Hooper with a great learning experience.
"Rob is a very tough guy and I've really enjoyed sparring with him," Damien said. "He's got a lot of experience as a pro and I feel like I learned a lot from the past two weeks here in Auckland.
"I'm looking forward to getting another win on Friday night and trying to work on some of the things that I've done in the gym. Sparring with "The Butcher" is like having a fight anyway!"
Hooper's co-manager Brendan Bourke added: "It was better than a lot of fights that I've seen! I think both boxers have a ton of respect for each other and many thanks to Hatton Promotions for enabling this for Damien.
"While we've had a few late changes in Damien's opponent for the fight, that wasn't the real focus of the exercise.
"I'm hoping Damien takes care of business in a professional manner on Friday night and then we can focus on his next bout on August 8 on the Gold Coast."
Fredericton, New Brunswick - On August 24 at Halifax’s World Trade and Convention Centre, Tyson Cave will promote a top notch event of regional boxing talent.
Although Cave will be cotinuing his march towards a world title shot in the main event against an opponent TBA, many fight fans from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick will be paying close attention to the six round co-feature between Eastern Canadian champion Brandon ‘L-Jack’ Brewer (8-0-1, 3KO) of Fredericton and Jordan Clarke (4-2-2, 2KO) of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Folks are already chatting about these inter-provincial rivals, pontificating about who will claim the Maritime light middleweight championship and regional supremacy.
Clarke is of the same lineage as the other fighting Clarkes, including former Commonwealth Welterweight champ Chris Clarke (29-4-0, 17KO) and former Canadian welterweight championship front runner Allen Clarke (22-9-1, 10KO).
While Brewer acknowledges and admires Clarke’s previous accomplishments in the ring, the Fredericton light middleweight still; believes he has the edge going into the bout. “I really don’t know a whole lot about Jordan other than he is a southpaw with an impressive amateur background,” explained Brewer. “I know he’s more experienced than I am but when you have my athletic abilities, you can throw that experience out the damn window.”
Brewer believes this is a special event, sure to impress the faithful Halifax fight fans. “Fans should get extremely excited for this. It’s my first time fighting as a pro in Halifax. I have a lot of friends and family down there so I guarantee i will be putting on a great show for them and the rest of Halifax. When I’m finished, the City will remember the name ‘L-Jack’ and be hungry for more.”
New York, NY / Monaco / Johannesburg - South Africa’s Rodney Berman has brought together a top fight card to conclude the “Monte Carlo Million Dollar Super Four” tournament in Monaco next weekend.
The two main bouts have a strong element of East versus West, with Russia’s Denis Grachev (13-1-1, 8 KOs) against the US’s Edwin Rodriguez (23-0, 15 KOs) for the Super Four title and unbeaten Russian Khabib Allakhverdiev (18-0, 8 KOs) defending his WBA and IBO light-welterweight titles against France’s former champion, Souleymane M’baye (40-4-1, 22 KOs).
Additionally, Maksym Bursak (26-1-1, 12 KOs) of Ukraine will put his European middleweight title on the line against Prince Arron (23-4-1, 5 KOs) of England, while Dmytro Kucher (21-0, 15 KOs), also of Ukraine, will defend his WBC International Silver cruiserweight belt against Junior Makabu (13-1, 13 KOs) of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“These fights resonate strongly with the European market, but there has been plenty of interest also from America,” explained Berman, CEO of Golden Gloves in South Africa. “The Super Four final will be fought at catchweight, but obviously Rodriguez is a big name at super-middleweight where a lot of exciting things are happening. I’ve no doubt the winner of this fight will be catapulted into a major championship fight, having proved himself in Monte Carlo.”
Berman also predicts Monte Carlo will represent a big opportunity for Allakhverdiev, a top fighter yet to crack big-name international recognition. “If he produces the goods against M’baye, who always comes to fight, the likes of Lucas Matthysse and Mike Alvarado can’t but sit up and take notice. Remember, he’s already beaten Joan Guzman and pulverized former IBO champion Kaizer Mabuza. Allakhverdiev is among the new wave of outstanding fighters emerging from Eastern Europe, among them Grachev and Gennady Golovkin. I think the fights will be sensational.”
Berman said that hot-running Golovkin will be attending as a VIP, but also to support his good friend Grachev, with whom he shared a fight camp ahead of his recent title defence. Golovkin, fresh off his outstanding knockout of Matthew Macklin, will also undertake autograph sessions.
The veteran promoter believes that the cruiserweight bout between Kucher and Makabu could be the most explosive on the card. Makabu is on an unbeaten run of 13 stoppages and Kucher has 15 inside-the-distance wins from his 21 fights.
“I’ve really struggled to match Makabu, because so few fighters want to go in with a puncher. But happily Kucher has stepped forward. I’d recommend that fans don’t blink – these guys bring heavy artillery.”