'I'm a changed man' claims disgraced Olympic boxer
AS former Olympic boxer Damien Hooper walked from court after his latest brush with the law, he apologised for a chequered past and vowed to win a world title.
Outside Southport Courthouse yesterday, Hooper, 27, said nearly a year spent behind bars and ongoing treatment for depression and anxiety had changed his outlook on life.
Brisbane-based Hooper told the Bulletin: "Right now I'm humble, I realise what's going on and if I don't take this opportunity I'm going to miss out on this world title.
"To any Australian boxer in division, whatever it is, I'll fight you. Don't be scared to fight me. I'm here and I'm back and I'm ready to do good things, man."
Hooper faced Southport Magistrates Court yesterday, pleading guilty to charges including failing to stop for police and two counts of driving while disqualified by court order less than three weeks apart in September and October last year.
The most serious offence was failing to stop, which involved Hooper fleeing in a car at speed when police attempted to pull his vehicle over outside an Acacia Ridge pub.
Hooper, represented by lawyer Jason Grant, of Grant Lawyers, walked from court considering 348 days served before the hearing, largely due to more serious charges which were dropped.
Outside court, Hooper said the burden of being well-known for his sporting prowess played a part in his offending in recent times.
"I have changed. I've done courses and I've also got prescription medication for my mental illness. I'm the one in the spotlight, but I've got my own issues personally and doesn't every human in the world have their own issues?" he said.
"I don't care what they say, I will win that world title bro, for sure."
Hooper said he wanted to become a positive role model for indigenous youth and planned to move from Brisbane to Sydney to ramp up training and advance his boxing career.