‘Team Combat League will be mainstream and known around the world like the NBA’

Boxing coach Dewey Cooper is bullish about the progress of Team Combat League and has claimed that they're only a few years away from global notoriety.

Cooper, a former kickboxer and boxer, is now a coach in several disciplines and currently leads the Las Vegas Hustle in Team Combat League, which is the world’s only boxing league with a franchise team format where both genders are featured on the same team as well as each match being just one three-minute round.

Nicknamed the 'Black Kobra' during his fighting days, the 48-year-old spoke exclusively to Daily Star Sport about the budding organisation and the heights it could reach in the coming years. He said: "I believe in the next 3-5 years, we'll be mainstream and people around the world will know TCL and our goal is to be just like the NBA, NFL and the MLB.

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"It is a real team sport with people cheering for their home teams, coming to the fights and enjoying a night of team combat."

Team Combat League is certainly a major shift from traditional boxing as Cooper laid out the differences a coach has to get used to when preparing his fighter for a one-round fight compared to 12 rounds. "It's completely different from a normal boxing fight because the shortest parameters for a boxing fight is four rounds which means you have three different opportunities to try and instil a game plan.

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"You have those times after a round where you talk to him and make sure he's okay, in TCL, the entire ideology is about championship rounds, every second matters, in a three-minute round, you have to conquer the moment, try and defeat your opponent and make those real-time adjustments."

When he's not on Team Combat League duty, Cooper trains a whole host of fighters in boxing and MMA, most notably former UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou. Cooper is sharing coaching duties with Mike Tyson for Ngannou's megafight with Tyson Fury on October 28 as he said the plan surrounding the bout is all about "winning".

"Anytime we have an opponent, our goal is victory, this is no different, we plan on winning, the pre-camp training is going really well and we're excited about the opportunity and we know its the highest of mountains to climb but nothing is impossible. We have a specimen of a man that can really shock the world and bring the biggest upset in boxing history to the table and that's exactly what we plan on doing."

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