PETER COPE is keeping his fingers crossed that his ninth professional appearance will be for the Northern Area title.
Cope made it eight straight wins as a pro yesterday when he defeated ‘internet pest’ Qasim Hussain at the Stadium of Light.
The Sheffield boxer had got under the Gus Robinson Developments star’s skin ahead of the Summer Rumble with comments made on social media.
And the determined Hussain duly got under the skin of Cope during the six-round scrap yesterday.
The Hartlepool boxer emerged victorious, being awarded a 58-56 points verdict from referee Andrew Wright, but it was not pretty at times.
“A win’s a win but I did not exactly light up the Stadium,” the 22-year-old told SportMail who is now being linked with a North-East derby with Newcastle’s Dougie Curran in September.
“I need something like that now and I need to be busier.
“That was only my second fight in a year and that could be a reason why I was a bit rusty.
“A bout with Dougie would be good – he gives everyone he boxes a fight and I think he is better than his record suggests.
“I need to move on and I need to be busy and fighting Dougie for the Area title in September could be a big help.”
It would be wrong to say Cope struggled yesterday at Sunderland’s football ground but the unbeaten prospect certainly lost his way in the second half of the contest.
Hussain came forward throughout, looking to fight at close quarters, and while his style may not be pleasing on the eye, he was certainly effective and he threw a lot of leather.
In the opening three rounds though he was outclassed, as excellence overcame endeavour.
When Cope operated at long range, he looked a million dollars, his accurate southpaw jab was always followed up by straight crisp lefts to the Yorkshireman’s head.
Indeed, Hussain seemed to be briefly wobbled in round two but, despite that, it did not seem to stop him from ploughing forward.
Cope was at his least productive in the fourth and fifth rounds and the away fighter took advantage with the better workrate.
Chants of “Peter Cope’s Barmy Army” from the large travelling support ahead of the last round seemed to have the desired effect.
There was a bit more action from Cope in the final three minutes including a volley of punches when he forced Hussain back on the ropes.
He deserved to get the nod, but it was not as convincing as coach Peter Cope and assistant Alan Temple would have liked.
“Peter ended up fighting the other kid’s fight,” said Cope Snr.
“He started off well but he got embroiled in a fight he should not have got embroiled in.
“But this is professional boxing and winning is what counts.
“We will though look to step things up now.”