Quade Cooper to make boxing debut

Australian Wallaby fly-half Quade Cooper speaks during a press conference in Brisbane on November 26, 2012. Cooper on November 26 said he was putting his rugby union career on hold as he prepares to make his debut in the boxing ring early next year. AFP / PATRICK HAMILTON

BRISBANE, Australia – Wallabies flyhalf Quade Cooper has announced he will make his boxing debut next year as he weighs his future in rugby after receiving an “unacceptable” contract offer from the Australian Rugby Union.

Cooper said Monday he will fight an opponent yet to be named on the undercard of a Feb. 8 bout in Brisbane featuring his close friend, former All Black Sonny Bill Williams, and South Africa’s Johan Botha.

The 24-year-old Cooper, who has played 38 tests for Australia, will fight in the cruiserweight division.

Cooper said “rugby is the game that I love” but admitted his future in the sport is uncertain after the Australian union offered him a downgraded contract.

Cooper’s manager, Khoder Nasser, said there has been a “total communication breakdown” with the union over the contract.

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