PETER Cope insists his first professional defeat has not dented his confidence ahead of his challenge for the Northern Area lightweight title.
The gifted Hartlepool boxer meets Middlesbrough’s John Green in an exciting 10-round derby at South Shields on Sunday.
Cope is going into the confrontation on the back of not only losing a battle to make the super-feather limit for the match at Temple Park but a defeat in a bid for the English title in London.
The 23-year-old was beaten by a landslide points margin by the quick and talented hands and feet of Mitchell Smith in London in July.
He was due to return in a six-rounder on the undercard of Anthony Nelson’s showdown with Terry Broadbent for the vacant English super-fly title, boxing alongside brother Daniel and fellow team-mate Anth Hardy.
But the Green team made the offer of a fight for the regional title and the Gus Robinson Developments team were happy to oblige.
“I’d been ticking over, starting to get ready for a six rounder and then this came along three weeks ago,” said Cope.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to box for and it’s great to be boxing on the same show as Danny.
“I came up short against Mitchell.
“I know this is seen as a macho sport but there are times I believe when you just have to be honest and say ‘I lost to the better man’.
“I loved it in London, the occasion never got to me or anything like that.
“I enjoyed the build-up, the fight, the venue, the atmosphere, I want big nights like that again.
“Everything went well in the camp though may be not in the bout.
“But I hold my hands up and say the better man won.
“Sunday is for another title and it’s a different sort of fight.”
The former International Masters champ will start as the favourite in the chief support contest against the Boro boxer who is based in Paul Hamilton’s Darlington gym.
Green has begun his career impressively with one home win plus a draw and stoppage victory on the road.
It means the 25-year-old is unlikely to fear Sunday’s derby on the Steve Wraith-promoted event.
Cope told SportMail: “I sparred with him once here [at the Gus Robinson Developments gym] but I’ve not seen him fight.
“I think he’ll be a come-forward fighter and he’ll be tough.
“He’ll be ambitious, early on especially.”
Brother Daniel faces Jamie Zaszlos over four rounds, the same distance Hardy meets Jason Nesbitt.
Dave Garside and Neil Fannan prospect Tommy Ward takes on Esham Pickering in one of the main support bouts.
For ticket info, contact Peter on 07815991247