Super Rugby
Quade Cooper considering boxing switch
ESPN Staff
January 23, 2015
Quade Cooper was denied the chance to box on the same card as Sonny Bill Williams © Getty Images

Queensland Reds playmaker Quade Cooper may have been forced to withdraw from a boxing bout later this month but it seems the pugilistic art remains a realistic long-term option.

Cooper was slated for a third professional fight as part of the Footy Show Fight Night on January 31st before the Reds intervened and told the fly-half he was required for a trial match with Melbourne Rebels on the same date. The 26-year-old insists he has moved on from the incident and that there is no bad blood between himself and the Reds. But it's clear the desire to box remains, and may well see him make a permanent switch to the sport from next year.

"When I started boxing, I started right at the bottom and I'm still at the bottom," Cooper told Fairfax Media.

"I'm not moving too far up being able to have one fight every year. It's something I will definitely have a look at at some stage of my career. Whether it's something I love enough, or have enough skill to push to the next level, those are conversations that I have to have with my manager, my trainer. If they think I can go further, maybe. There are a lot of decisions to be made."

Cooper again signed just a one-year contract extension with the Reds and Australian Rugby Union, taking him through to the end of Rugby World Cup 2015. His long-term future is sure to be the subject of ongoing discussion throughout the year with offers likely to come from European and Japanese rugby clubs, and the NRL.

For now, his sole focus is rugby. And although he is upset not to be fighting on a card that features dual international and Chiefs recruit Sonny Bill Williams, Cooper said he had a responsibility to rugby first and foremost in 2015.

"It's disappointing," Cooper told Fairfax of the cancelled fight. "But at the end of the day, you control what you can control. It's not my place to argue that and kick up a stink. My job is to play football and do a good job for the team, contribute in a positive manner to the team and organisation.

"Rugby is my first love and my passion. There are a lot of decisions to be made. But at the same time, I have to respect the sport that has given me the most and that's rugby. When I'm here, it's my sole focus. And when I'm off contract, I'm off contract."

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