PETER Cope hopes tonight’s big super-featherweight shoot-out with Andy Townend can fire him up to the top in 2015.
Cope is set for his third major 10-round battle of the year when he takes on the “KO Kid” at Doncaster Dome in an English title eliminator.
It is a tough assignment for the Hartlepool fighter given Townend’s punch power – six of the Yorkshireman’s nine opponents have failed to hear the ring of the last bell.
But Cope knows the incentive for victory is huge – another shot at the English super-feather belt.
The Gus Robinson Developments fighter lost on points to crafty cockney Mitchell Smith in London for the vacant championship back in July.
But he came back strongly by winning the vacant Northern Area lightweight crown last month in South Shields against Middlesbrough’s John Green.
The 23-year-old is now confident he can repeat the trick against the Wakefield and Barnsley boxer this evening and put himself in line for glory next year.
“There are some big shows coming up in the North-East in 2015,” said the gifted southpaw who tipped the scales at 9st 3lb 6oz at yesterday’s weigh-in.
“I would love to be part of that. I want big fight, I don’t
want to be there doing four rounders.”
The Cope camp, especially coach – and dad – Peter and manager Alan Temple, took some offence at Eddie Hearn’s comments in a recent SportMail interview.
Matchoom’s supremo said the crowd favourite would “never” be a world champion and “probably” would not win a British title.
Cope Jnr has no beef with Hearn, saying: “I’m not sure how good I can be.
“I just plan to give it my best, in and out of the ring, and see how far I can go.
“This contest is a chance to move myself on and I’m confident I can win it.”
Victory is unlikely to bring a re-match with Smith – the Londoner is boxing this weekend for the WBO European title.
It may not exactly be at the top of the title tree but, if successful, it will earn him a ranking with the World Boxing Organisation and he is unlikely to risk any damage to a good rating.
Boxing is all about numbers and Team Cope know a figure in the high 90s is needed this evening at the Doncaster Dome.
It will require a top performance from the Poolie star to gain a points decision and, they trust, a good decision from the referee assuming the bout goes the 10 rounds.
Officials are only human and can be influenced by crowd noise so it will be up to Cope to silence Townend’s supporters.
The 25-year-old Tyke is a favourite with the fans especially given his KO prowess.
But he can be outboxed as Rendall Munroe displayed last year when they met in an English title eliminator at the same South Yorkshire venue.
Granted, Munroe was a significant force in his day at super-bantam, but the concept remains the same for the Hartlepool fighter – dominate the contest.
The “boxing binman” applied constant pressure, something Cope must replicate, while keeping his chin away from Townend’s heavy right fist.
Cope said: “I know Munroe was a world title challenger, but he was no Sugar Ray.
“He was a fit, strong, come-forward southpaw, I am similar, and I hope I can get my tactics and performance right.”