Hooper sets sights on world No.1

  Australian Damien Hooper (right) strikes Umar Salamov of Russia during their light-heavyweight title fight in Brisbane.  Photo Credit:  DAVE HUNT

BOXING: Dalby’s Damien Hooper has called out pound-for-pound world No.1 Andre Ward after scoring a shock win in the light- heavyweight division on the Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn undercard on Sunday.

Promoter Bob Arum immediately met with Queensland’s Hooper after his upset victory at Suncorp Stadium and wants him to fight in the United States as early as August.

Hooper defeated WBO and IBF International light- heavyweight champion Umar Salamov 96-94 on all three judges’ cards, taking the Russian’s belts and his top 10 world rankings.

 Australia’s Damien Hooper (right) celebrates being announced the winner of his WBO and IBO International light-heavyweight fight against Russia’s Umar Salamov.  Photo Credit: DAN PELED

It was Salamov’s first defeat of his 20-fight career and Hooper moves to 13-1 and some potentially huge bouts down the road including against arguably the best boxer on the planet.

“Ward is a superstar, everything you strive to be like but when it comes to skills I match him,” Hooper said.

“He’s just smart and he’s been there, he’s got a boxing brain.

“I’ve just got to get there, get the experience, be in the wars in training and sparring and I can match him. I can match anyone.”

Hooper, 25, outworked Salamov with busy bodywork and sharp combinations, stepping up his intensity in the 10th and final round to rubber stamp his victory.

It was a remarkable moment for a man who was in jail a little over 12 months ago.

“The first thing I could think of was my son, he is the reason I wanted to do so well,” Hooper said.

“All the hard work, I think about him and his future and that’s just motivated me to be a better man and made me more mature.”

When the WBO and IBF ratings come out early next week, Hooper is expected to be ranked in the top 10 in both and possibly as high as No.5.

That will put him in the mix to fight the biggest names in the division including Ward, Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson.



07/02/2017 Umar Salamov vs. Damien Hooper

Date:  Sunday, July 2, 2017


Location:  Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Promoter:  Duco Events Ltd/Dean Lonergan –  Top Rank/Bob Arum  

Supervisor:   Leon Panoncillo

Referee: Phil Austin

Judges:   Katsuhiko Nakamura 96-94, Adam Height 96-94, Danrex Tapdasan  96-94

Results:   The WBO International Lt. Heavyweight Title was defeated by Damien Hooper against Umar Salamov by Unanimous Decision.

TV:   USA ESPN, Australia Main Event, New Zealand Sky Arena

Umar Salamov to fight Damian Hooper on Pacquiao undercard


Light heavyweight Umar Salamov came in at number 8 in the WBO’s latest ratings after his stellar performance stopping Emil Markic (24-1) on the undercard of Joseph Parker’s heavyweight world title defense in New Zealand earlier this month.

At just 22 years old Salamov stands an imposing figure at 6’3 tall and has already achieved plenty in his 19 fights to date.

He has held 2 versions of world youth titles with the IBO and WBO, the WBO European and IBO World titles.

In his last outing, he secured the WBO International & IBF East/West European titles.

He is set to go again on July 2nd on the Jeff Hon vs Manny Pacquiao undercard where he is scheduled to face former Aussie Olympian Damian ‘Super’ Hooper.

Trainer Kevin Barry said: ‘I am hearing rumors Hooper is treating this fight as his own personal version of a world title fight as he knows doors will fly open for him if he can get a win over Umar.

“So we are training for a hard-long fight against a willing opponent who has excellent skills.

“We didn’t have to call Hooper out – he actually contacted our matchmaker Stuart Duncan wanting the fight.”

Umar’s manager Kazbek Aslambekov said it would be foolish and disrespectful to look beyond Hooper at this stage other than confirming it is the team’s intention to have him fight at least two or three more times in 2017.


Umar Salamov (Rus) beat Emil Markic (Bos) by TKO

Salamov.Markic 1494089318459  Parker’s stablemate Umar Salamov, right, was too strong for Emil Markic.  /  Photo Credit:  LAWRENCE SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ –

Joseph Parker’s stablemate Umar Salamov produced an impressive fourth round TKO to book himself a likely spot on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn’s title fight in Brisbane.

Russia’s 1.93m Salamov was in total control from the outset against Bosnia’s Emil Markic, handing him just his second defeat of a 25 fight career.

Salamov improved to 19-0 – and claimed the vacant WBO international light heavyweight title previously held by American champion Andre Ward, along with the and vacant IBF east/west Europe titles in his first fight in New Zealand.

The 22-year-old showcased variety – working the body, changing angles – as well as landing fast combinations and a deadly overhand right. He handed Markic a standing count in the fourth round, and then finished him off with 45 seconds left in the round.

Salamov is now expected to get a spot on the Pacquiao-Horn undercard on July 2.



05/06/2017 Umar Salamov v. Emil Markic

Date:  Saturday, May 6, 2017

WBO International Lt. Heavyweight Title Bout

Location: Vodafone Events Centre,  Manukau City, New Zealand

Promoter:    Duco Events / David Higgins and Top Rank / Bob Arum

Supervisor:   Danny Leigh

Referee:  Danrex Tapdasan

Judges:  Ian Scott, Darcy Williams, Arnaru Harriman

Results:    The Vacant WBO International Lt. Heavyweight Title was won by Umar Salamov against Emil Markic by KO’ed on 4th. round.

TV:  United Kingdom SKY, New Zealand Sky Arena, Australia FOX


The WBO represented by Mikhail Zavialov (president of National Professional Boxing League of Ukraine) together with WBO European light-heavyweight Champion Umar Salamov and former WBO Inter-Continental middleweight Champion Max “Tiger” Bursak donated boxing equipment to the kids from two boxing schools in Kiev (Ukraine). In spite of hard times which Ukraine goes through now, schools continue to develop and popularize boxing among young generation, rising new champions to represent Ukraine on the world boxing rings.

WBO_Kids_Drug_Free_Ukraine_2  WBO_Kids_Drug_Free_Ukraine_3