Quade Cooper insists he can find room for rugby and boxing in the future as the Reds and Wallabies star prepares for his second professional bout.
Cooper will fight veteran martial artist Warren Tresidder at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Wednesday night and has reaffirmed his commitment to the sweet science, which he believes can happily co-exist with his footballing commitments with Queensland and Australia.
The Reds are largely comfortable with Cooper's boxing ambitions but ARU boss Bill Pulver remains sceptical, saying he wasn't around when the deal to allow Cooper the occasional fight was signed and he'd rather he focused solely on rugby.
It will be up for discussion when Cooper re-negotiates his ARU contract later this year, while his deal with the Reds extends until the end of 2015.
Cooper believes his boxing training has not only improved his fitness and ability as a rugby player but given him stability and discipline off the park. He rates his time spent in the gym as a key part of his new approach to life and sport.
He believes there can be room for both pursuits and it would appear boxing isn't going away, with Cooper becoming increasingly dedicated to the sport and serious in his ambition as a pro fighter.
“I have a great passion and love for the sport. It's not interfering in my rugby and I won't let it. I love doing both. I won't let either one come in the way of the other,” Cooper said before the public weigh-in on Tuesday.
“I still haven't had a chat with Bill [Pulver], but after everything is out of the way I'm sure we'll be able to sit down and chat about the future. I'm looking forward to that. Right now, I'm just looking forward to this fight.
“I'd love to continue to do it and I will continue to do it. I don't want to get too far ahead. A lot of people have spoken about my potential in the sport but potential is one thing, doing it's another.
“I'm one round into one professional fight and that's the reality of it. I've shown a love for the sport but then it's back to rugby season and trying to win a title for the Queensland Reds.”
Cooper will fight on the undercard of Anthony Mundine's bout with Kiwi call-up Gunnar Jackson. His opponent is a 40-year-old martial arts veteran whose most recent bout was a loss to former England cricketer Adam Hollioake.
Tresidder, shaved head and covered in tattoos, admits his record isn't stellar but says his experience will ensure Cooper goes deeper into the fight than last time, when he finished Barry Dunnett with a flush right in the opening round.
“I'm here to fight. On paper, my record doesn't look so great. I've had four fights, three in the cage and one in the ring. But all of my opponents have been formidable opponents,” Tresidder said.
The story Quade Cooper declares commitment to boxing ahead of fight with Warren Tresidder first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.