Peter Cope will face a former Olympic star when he boxes for the British Promoters Association Challenge belt this month.
The Hartlepool fighter will tackle Abdon Cesar for the lightweight title in Gateshead on Saturday, June 25.
Cesar. from Stockton, replaces Brad Botham, who was the original opponent for the fight which had been due to take place in Darlington.
That Friday the 13th event at the Dolphin Centre was cancelled but another promoter, Fighting Chance, has stepped in to stage the bout which will be sponsored by Netting Services Limited.
Cope’s coach and father, Peter Cope Snr, told SportMail that the Gus Robinson Developments camp are braced for a real test.
“We wanted a proper fight for Peter and we’ve got one,” said Cope Snr.
“Peter is looking to move his career on and if he wins this Challenge belt then we’re confident that will happen.”
Cesar boxed at the 2012 Olympic Games under his real name of Abdon Mewoli.
But Abdon was one of seven Cameroon athletes who then fled the Olympic Village in London to claim asylum in the UK.
Like friend and Cameroon boxing team-mate, Thomas Essomba, he re-located in the area, Cesar in Stockton and Essomba in Sunderland.
Essomba has become Wearside’s first Commonwealth flyweight champ, while Cesar has turned pro on Teesside.
Cesar’s results are mixed to say the least – three wins and seven defeats – but the Cope camp are “not fooled” by the 30-year-old’s record.
Abdon has boxed away from home nine times out of 10 and boasts a win from his only North-East date, a points success over Jack Heath at Gateshead Leisure Centre last year.
He lost his first three bouts and his last three but in between he has been highly dangerous.
“His last three fights have been against top, winning boxers, Charlie Flynn, Joe Murray and Maxi Hughes,” said Cope Snr. “Flynn is an unbeaten Commonwealth Games gold medallist.
“Cesar has been to the Olympics, so he can’t be bad and, in his three wins, he’s beaten two unbeaten kids.
“He’s strong and the sort of fighter who if you let him get on top you are in trouble.
“We are not fooled by his record. This is a tough contest but one we are looking forward to and we thank Fighting Chance and NSL for putting it on.”
Cesar is no dummy, having beaten the previously-unbeaten Atif Shafiq for the British Masters Bronze title in Sheffield, his opponent’s home town, while he saw off another undefeated rival, Ryan Collins, in the Scot’s backyard.
For tickets, call Peter on 07815 991247.