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Boxing to make Quade mentally stronger
Jim Morton
14:25 AEST Mon Jan 14 2013

Quade Cooper strongly believes his controversial boxing debut will make him a mentally tougher rugby player.

Cooper struggled under the immense World Cup pressure in New Zealand 14 months ago, but he feels the challenging preparation for his February 8 bout has helped take his mental powers to a new level.

The Wallabies and Queensland Reds playmaker has no doubt he'll come out of his fight against Barry Dunnett a much improved player - both physically and mentally.

"Mentally, boxing is something else," Cooper said.

"You have to push your body through so many different limits and it's something that I've grown from and will continue to grow from, and the more I put in the more I'll get out of it.

"Mentally, boxing makes you a whole lot stronger and some of the training things I've had to go through are things I never thought possible and I've pushed my body to whole new limits.

"So I'm very excited about the rugby season and the fight just around the corner."

While many Reds fans are disappointed to see Cooper missing Queensland's second and final pre-season trial against the Super Rugby champion Chiefs outfit to take on seasoned fighter Dunnett, the 24-year-old has indicated it won't be his last bout.

He will box on the undercard to good friend Sonny Bill Williams' heavyweight bout against South African Francois Botha at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.

Williams attributed his career-best 2012 form for the Chiefs and All Blacks to his boxing training, fighting American Clarence Tillman just a fortnight before the season kicked off, and expects Cooper to reap the same benefits.

Cooper has doubled up his training regime, fulfilling his Reds commitments on top of his boxing sessions with trainer Shannon King.

"I feel this is something that has put me in a good position leading into the rugby season," Cooper said.

"It has given me something else to focus on and also been able to get me in great condition fitness wise as well as mentally."

The 38-Test five-eighth must back up quickly to fight 32-year-old Dunnett as he'll play in the Reds opening 2013 trial against the Blues six days before in Toowoomba.