PETER Cope hopes success in his Northern Area title challenge will propel him to a new level.
The undefeated Hartlepool boxer takes on Newcastle’s Douggie Curran in Gateshead on Friday, September 13, for the vacant super-featherweight belt.
Cope insists he is not taking the 25-year-old Geordie lightly ahead of the 10-rounder at the Dunston Fed Brewery.
“Not at all,” said the 22-year-old Gus Robinson Developments boxer.
“This is definitely the hardest fight of my life.
“But if I can win the Northern Area belt then hopefully it will get me closer to a shot at the English title.
“A win against Dougie would certainly move me up a level.
“I want to push on and this fight will help me, providing I win it.”
Cope knows that the Northern Area belt is a vital stepping stone in a boxer’s career.
Michael Hunter, Hartlepool’s most decorated fighter, won the Northern crown in his eighth contest and was a British champion 11 bouts later.
A Northern Area belt has provided a notable chance for sparring partner and fighting neighbour Gary Fox.
The Neil Fannan boxer won the regional prize last September and this coming Saturday he will fight Central Area champ Scott Cardle on the undercard of the Ricky Burns world title defence in Glasgow.
It is not an official eliminator but the winner at the SECC will certainly be knocking on the door of the bigger domestic opportunities.
And the same incentive is there for Cope in two Fridays.
The winner of the International Masters super-bantamweight belt at the 2012 Summer Rumble, Cope knows he has the ability and the conditioning to go 10 rounds thanks to that success at the Stadium of Light against Gavin Reid.
“Dougie is a come-forward fighter and very tough,” said Cope. “He’s similar in style to Gavin but probably a bit better.
“He is better than his record suggests [nine wins and 19 defeats], he’s probably been ripped off a few times on the road and taken quite a few late-notice jobs.
“I know he’s good – and game.
“I know I’m going to have to put in a really good performance.”