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Super Hooper claims gold for Australia

25 August 2010

Australia is celebrating from Dalby to Belconnen tonight, with Damien Hooper clinching gold at the Youth Olympic Games in the 75kg middleweight division to become Australia’s first indigenous boxer to win a junior world event.

The Queensland born, AIS trained fighter defeated Colombian Juan Carlos Carrilo 12-4 in a dominant display that will take him to Delhi next month as a genuine chance at Commonwealth gold.

It has been all class from Hooper since arriving in Singapore two weeks ago. On his was to gold he has taken down former junior world No 1 Joe Ward in his opening bout and the highly fancied Carrilo in the final tonight.

Names like Mundine and Rose have flown the indigenous flag for Australian boxing during the past but now there is a new name to watch and Hooper was thrilled to be mentioned in such company.

“I’m proud to have won this for indigenous people and to be the first indigenous junior world No 1 is an indescribable feeling, it’s amazing,” Hooper said.

“I just wanted to be able to go home and say to my mates ‘Hey I’m world champ’ and now I can do it, I’m there.”

“To beat Ward the other night and then to take this it’s all just amazing and I will never forget it. I knew I could get him it was just a matter of getting in front and staying there which I managed to do.”

Hooper opened the first round nicely, moving forward and keeping the Colombian tight working his body and looking the stronger fighter. But despite Hooper’s early form it was Carrilo who drew first blood with a quick shot the side of Hooper’s head scoring with all five judges.

The Australian steadied and pulled back the point with 50 seconds left in the round and from there Hooper did not look challenged.

The start of the second was when Hooper came into his own, scoring within the first five seconds with a quick straight right, then again another four times before the halfway mark in the round.

Carrilo was able to pull two points back with 90 seconds to go, but Hooper managed to wind Carillo with a powerful shot to chest, then daze him with a strong right to the head and a hook to the Colombian’s cheek to go to the third round with a five-point lead, 8-3.

The third started much the same as the first, with Hooper constantly on the advance but Carrilo scoring first.

Under the vocal cheers from the Australian supporters the Colombian stumbled and never recovered with Hooper inflicting a series of shots to the head and body to score another four points and an unassailable lead.

The final score of 12-4 was a fair indication of Hooper’s dominance over the fight and his earlier Youth Olympic matches before tonight.

“My strategy was just to take things easy in the first, move him around a bit and see what he’s got,” Hooper said.

“Once I saw that he wasn’t going to come at me too hard I could open things up a bit more but I was really cautious at the start. Everything went pretty much to plan.”

From here Hooper said the sky is the limit with plans to stay amateur until the London 2012 Olympic Games on the hunt for more gold.

Elliot Woods

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