Cooper set for boxing debut
Quade Cooper (Gallo Images)
Brisbane - Australia flyhalf Quade Cooper is set to follow close friend and rugby World Cup winner Sonny Bill Williams into the professional boxing ring.
Australian and New Zealand media reported on Sunday that Cooper would announce the decision of his move to the ring on Monday at a news conference in Brisbane.
Cooper, recuperating from a knee injury, is listed as 92kg on his Reds profile, just over boxing's cruiserweight limit but putting him in the same heavyweight category as Williams.
The 24-year-old's future with Australia could also be revealed on Monday, with the talented playmaker yet to announce if he has signed a new contract with the Australian Rugby Union.
Last week reports from Australia said the controversial Cooper, who had previously described the Wallabies camp as a "toxic environment", would not renew his contract after being offered an insentive-based deal usually awarded to fringe squad members.
Cooper was fined A$40 000 for his comments which capped a disappointing 12 months as the New Zealand-born player fell drastically from his perch as key Wallaby figure to an injury-prone sideshow.
The Reds fulcrum has since been linked with a move to either the lucrative Japanese or French leagues when his deal ends at the end of the year.
There has also been speculation of a possible switch of codes and a spell in Australian rugby league, where Williams has signed up to play next year.
Williams is expected to sit alongside Cooper when he announces he will fight on the undercard of the former All Black centre and New Zealand heavyweight boxing champion's bout with South African Francois Botha, according to a report in the Sunday Telegraph.
The bout against the 44-year-old Botha was originally scheduled to take place on Saturday but had to be switched to February after Williams suffered a pectoral injury playing for Japanese Top League club Panasonic Wild Knights.