Quade Cooper gets first-round knockout

CHRIS BARCLAY IN BRISBANE
Last updated 23:39 08/02/2013
Quade Cooper
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PERFECT START: Quade Cooper won his first ever professional bout with a first-round knock out.

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Barry Dunnett could not fulfil the hopes and dreams of a nation including those, presumably, of Richie McCaw as Quade Cooper regained his swagger with a staggering straight right hand that heralded a successful start to his professional boxing career.

Dunnett, an insurance investigator specialising in car accidents, collided with Cooper's new signature blow late in the opening round of their non-title cruiserweight fight - the main undercard event to the WBA International heavyweight title fight between Sonny Bill Williams and Francois Botha at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.

Vowing to strike a blow for the ordinary fighting man by ensuring Cooper was better suited to his specialist contact sport, the Muay Thai exponent and occasional orthodox boxer instead proved no match for New Zealand sport's public enemy No 1.

Dunnett had plenty of presumably Kiwi support as he entered the ring and excited a vocal minority as he winged Cooper with an underpowered right hand that had the Tokoroa-born Wallaby smirking.

Cooper proved it was only a glancing blow when bringing the Queenslander to his knees with an uppercut - a strike that caused lasting damage.

Dunnett was clearly disorientated by the hit and after throwing a couple of hopeful haymakers he was knocked out with a second remaining in the opening stanza of an abbreviated four-round cruiserweight contest.

Dunnett needed assistance to get upright but eventually headed to the dressing room under his own steam.

Ridiculed in his homeland for landing cheap shots on the All Blacks captain since the 2010 Bledisloe Cup test in Hong Kong - the polarising playmaker is yet to redeem himself on the rugby field after a disastrous World Cup campaign.

But the 24-year-old at least left the ring with this new facet of sporting reputation unsullied.

Cooper raised his right hand in triumph and swiftly checked on Dunnett's status before acknowledging his fans.

Cooper appeared nervous on the eve of his debut and he may not have been totally at ease as he made his way to centre stage ahead of another controversial Australian sporting figure, league player turned boxer Anthony Mundine.

However, he would have felt typically self-confident less than five minutes later.

The mercurial pivot might still be offside with his fellow Wallabies after infamously describing the team environment as "toxic" last September - although his Reds teammates had a viable excuse for not turning out in support.

They were taking on Williams' most recent franchise, the reigning Super Rugby champion Chiefs in a trial on the Sunshine Coast when the bout got underway.

The crowd of 4000 did include several NRL players involved in Saturday's NRL and Indigenous All Stars clash at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.

Cooper rejoins the Reds at a fan day at Ballymore on Saturday.

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- Fairfax Media

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