Hartlepool boxer Adam Cope in ABA Championship finals in Liverpool

FINALS: Adam Cope. Picture by FRANK REID
FINALS: Adam Cope. Picture by FRANK REID

ADAM Cope is ready to step into the biggest day – or three – of his young boxing life.

The Hartlepool teenager is to fight in the ground-breaking ABA Championship finals in Liverpool this weekend.

He is not bothered about reputations and records, he won’t be fazed about who is in the other corner

WAYNE SHORT

For the first time in the event’s 128-year history, the men’s and women’s finals will go ahead at the same venue.

And Cope hopes to be in the thick of the action in the Under-60 kilo division, where he is aiming to become the first senior male ABA champ from the town since Billy Bessey back in 1999.

The competition is set up as a three-day shoot-out – quarter-finals tomorrow, semis on Saturday and the finals on Sunday.

Cope is the outsider in the group, no surprise given he is taking part in his first ABAs at the end of his debut season in adult boxing.

At 18, he is the youngest of the eight at the Echo Arena, but the Gus Robinson Developments camp go to Merseyside with no fears.

Cope has had a brilliant run since leaving the juniors behind and removing his head guard.

He won his first three bouts, all on the road, before clinching victory in the Tyne, Tees & Wear final of the ABAs, beating Jeff Neasham, from High Fell, then defeating Irlam’s Luke Evans in the last 16 stage.

“Adam is in great shape, as usual,” said Gus Robinson Developments coach Wayne Short.

“He’s fit as always, has done a lot of strength and conditioning work and has had some top sparring at the East Durham gym.

“This is all new to us at Gus Robinson Developments.

“We’ve been to the quarters before with Peter Cope.

“But it’s the first time we’ve been there when it has been three fights in three days.

“Luke McCormack, from Birtley, is the one to watch after being seeded through to the last eight as one of the GB Podium squad.

“But there are other top lads there too, Ryan Fillingham, from the Army, will be a tough one.

“There are also Tom McGuinness, from Kirkdale in Liverpool, and Cory O’Regan, from the Central area, both good young fighters.

“But they are all good at this stage of the competition, whoever Adam draws in the quarters is going to be a hard task.

“Adam will have no fears though.

“He is not bothered about reputations and records, he won’t be fazed about who is in the other corner.

“He will go out, as Adam always does, and give it his best shot.

“He has got to treat every bout he has as though it’s the final.

“Adam has already stepped up to the plate with some brilliant wins this season and we’re confident he’ll go there and give it everything.”

Tomorrow’s weigh-in is at the proverbial crack of dawn, between 7.15-9.15am, with the draw taking place at 9.30am.

Boxing will start at noon with two rings in use in the Echo Arena.

Cope has plenty of local company in Liverpool.

There are two boxers from East Durham Academy in action, Luke O’Rourke at flyweight (U52 kilo) and middleweight Louis Cunningham (U75 kilo) while South Durham’s Declan Fusco boxes at super-heavy