Hartlepool boxer Peter Cope targeting top after beating Lee Connelly at Borough Hall

11TH PRO WIN: Peter Cope
11TH PRO WIN: Peter Cope

PETER Cope is back in business and targeting the top.

The Hartlepool fight star dazzled a hometown crowd by beating Lee Connelly at the Borough Hall last night.

I definitely want to be in for an English title by the end of the year

PETER COPE

Cope, boxing for the first time since being stopped in an English title eliminator by Andy Townend in March, won on points against his Derbyshire opponent.

After defeats at championship standard at super-feather, the Gus Robinson Developments is looking towards success at lightweight.

The 23-year-old told SportMail: “I’m buzzing.

“It was great to be boxing back in Hartlepool and hopefully there’ll be another show here later in the year I can box on.

“It seemed to sell well so hopefully [promoter] Phil Jeffries will come night.

“This was an important win for me, to move my career back in the right direction again.

“I’ve had offers to fight some top lads, but I’ve not boxed for five months since losing my English title eliminator to Andy Townend, but this was the right step.

“I definitely want to be in for an English title by the end of the year.

“I know that lightweight is one of the strongest divisions in the country, but a lot of the lads are up fighting for world titles and the like.

“Domestic-wise I think it’s wide open.”

Cope told SportMail that he remains committed as ever to try to bring boxing glory to the town.

“Some people might have thought Peter Cope was a bit fed up of boxing,” said the southpaw.

“I have been through spells like that in my career, I think all fighters do, but I love boxing again now.

“We’re working hard and working on different stuff and I think that showed last night.

“Apart from the last couple of rounds, when I seemed to smother some of my better work, I was happy.

“I’d probably give myself seven out of 10 for that, may be.

“But I’m pleased with how I’ve come back from that loss last time out.”

Last night’s top-of-the-bill affair was a real entertaining battle, very reminiscent of the goold old days when Michael Hunter was ruling Britain, the Commonwealth and Europe at super-bantam a decade ago.

There was excitement and, to quote the town boxing legend, it was a good old-fashioned tear-up.

After five months out and following a first career stoppage defeat, it was always going to be interesting to see how Cope approached the contest against the 27-year-old, from Derbyshire.

The answer was positively.

Cope landed an eye-catching left upper and got through with several right-left combinations.

Connelly did get through with a couple of body shots at the end of the opener but it was Cope’s round.

Connelly had a penchant for body punches and he rushed the crowd favourite at the start of round two.

Bit back came Cope with a vengeance and he pounded shot after shot to the head of his opponent, so much so that he appeared to be in trouble pinned against the ropes.

Indeed, referee Andrew Wright looked closely at Connelly but the away boxer fought his way out of danger.

Cope opened up again in the third and whether that drained his energy or not, the fourth was more even as both boxers enjoyed success.

But Connelly was back under pressure in the fifth as Cope landed at will to ensure there was to be no late dramas.

Connelly came forward in the last, only to walk into some delicious close-range shots from Cope. But, credit to the away fighter, he responded with some more good body work.

Cope was a worthy winner, Mr Wright marking it 60-55, though the blue corner looked unhappy that their boxer’s contribution had not been properly recognised.

But last night was all about Hartlepool and the Copes – and Peter showed he was back on track.