Quade Cooper replaced cut-out passes with knockout punches as he won his second professional bout, stopping veteran Newcastle martial artist Warren 'The Fortress' Tresidder with a fourth round TKO at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
The Queensland and Australian rugby star made his ring debut this time last year, flattening part-time Brisbane pug Barry Dunnett in the opening round, and his stoppage victory against the 40-year-old Tresidder sees him remain unbeaten in his new enterprise.
With a host of his Reds teammates lending their support in the crowd, as well as Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie at ringside, Cooper wore down the heavily tattooed Tresidder, who showed plenty of heart but had no answer for Cooper's youth, athleticism and power, all built off the back of a stiff, sharp left jab.
Tresidder, a karate teacher, claims 25 years of martial arts experience but prior to this bout, only had one registered boxing match, that being a split decision loss to former England cricket Adam Hollioake in July last year on the Gold Coast.
Now he can add a rugby player to the list of sportsman who have bettered him in combat.
Cooper began warily, happy to stuff his jab into Tresidder's face and work his way into the fight. Tresidder offered little in reply during the first of four scheduled rounds, aside from an early flurry that did little to no damage.
But the underdog came out with more aggression in the second, going forward and throwing some flurries as Cooper defended then steadied, trying to set up the kind of crisp right that did in Dunnett at the same venue 12 months ago.
The jab started finding its way home before an uppercut had Tresidder looking a little concerned midway through the second. Cooper boxed with patience in the third, always in control, before upping the pace towards the end of the round. Tresidder took some shots but his chin still looked solid enough.
With his corner urging him to attack the body and get busier to close out the fight, Cooper responded with raw aggression that backed Tresidder back up into the hostile corner. Cooper unleashed some combinations before sending his opponent to the canvas with a heavy right. Tresidder tried to rally but the referee stopped the fight 34 seconds into the round.
"All credit to Warren. He fought very hard, He's got a good chin on him," Cooper said. "Everything comes off the back off the jab.
Cooper may be short on experience but has dedicated himself to training and has some obvious ability with the fists. Even if the opposition has been meagre – it is only his second fight – boxing pundits in and around ringside were impressed enough with his talents.
With Cooper wrapping up his second outing as a pugilist, the bigger fight may come with ARU boss Bill Pulver, who has openly expressed reservations about Cooper dabbling in the sweet science.
The pair will meet later this year as Cooper negotiates his expiring ARU deal but will no doubt have an supporter in McKenzie, who appointed him as Wallaby vice-captain on the Spring tour and will see him as a central plank of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
The story Fortress breached: Quade Cooper records TKO win over Warren Tresidder first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.