Hartlepool boxer Adam Cope faces fave Luke McCormack in ABA Championship in Liverpool

FACING HIS BIG TEST: Boxer Adam Cope. Picture by FRANK REID
FACING HIS BIG TEST: Boxer Adam Cope. Picture by FRANK REID

ADAM COPE faces the fight of his life today as he looks to reach the final of the ABA Championship.

The Hartlepool teenager produced the best result of his career yesterday when he outfought Londoner Danny Carr on day one of the climax to the FA Cup of the amateur boxing world.

Michael Hunter is down here supporting me which is brilliant He says to be the best you’ve got to beat the best.


Cope beat the 25-year-old on a unanimous points decision in Liverpool to set up a North-East derby with number one seed Luke McCormack this afternoon.

McCormack, from Birtley, is part of the Great Britain podium squad, and is the favourite to clinch the U60 kilo title at the Echo Arena tomorrow.

But Cope, whose quarter-final success over Carr yesterday made it five wins out of a five since moving to the senior ranks, has vowed to give it his “best shot”.

The talented Gus Robinson Developments boxer told SportMail: “Michael Hunter is down here supporting me which is brilliant.

“He says to be the best you’ve got to beat the best.

“Luke McCormack is the best – he’s the number one seed and GB international and he’s good.

“But I’ll be going in there to give it my best shot.”

But while McCormack carries the favourite tag quite comfortably, he will also be carrying something else into the ring today – an injury.

The 19-year-old, from Washington, suffered a nasty cut in his unanimous points victory over Cory O’Regan yesterday, something which could be a factor this afternoon, should it re-open.

Cope will go into his first ABA semi-final with a fair degree of confidence after a superb display yesterday.

The first round was, predictably, a tight affair between the champions of the London and Tyne, Tees & Wear divisions. There was little to choose between the two in those opening three minutes though if anyone shaded it, it was Cope.

Guide by coach Tony Martin in his corner, the 18-year-old moved up a gear or three in the last two sessions, boxing with accuracy and intent.

Carr looked for big shots, but Cope, who has made an all-action style his trademark, simply used his skill and movement to control the middle round.

And the last proved a carbon-copy as he produced another clinical three minutes.

“I was happy with how I boxed,” he said. “He was quite a tough lad and I thought the first round was close but then I stepped it up.”

To get to the last four in the country in his first year as a senior is an achievement in itself but the ambitious Cope will not be content to stop there.

“Adam is not the sort of lad who is just there to make up the numbers,” said Gus Robinson Developments ABC coach Wayne Short.

“Luke is the number one seed but Adam is not fazed about who is in the other corner.

“He goes out to win every fight he’s in and he’s already had some superb wins this season and he’ll be giving it everything here.”

In the other half of the draw, there was disappointment for the Liverpool crowd as Tom McGuinness (Kirkdale) lost to the Army’s Ryan Fillingham on a unanimous verdict.

The Combined Services champ will face Midlander Jack Wood (Wednesbury) after he beat Archie Sharpe on a split decision.

There was a mixed day for local fighters at the Echo Arena yesterday.

At U52 kilos, East Durham’s Luke O’Rourke to top seed Muhammad Ali (Bury) on a unanimous decision.

East Durham team-mate Louis Cunningham also lost out in the U75 kilo division, beaten on a unanimous verdict by Daniel Woledge (St Mary’s).

But there was better news at super-heavyweight where South Durham’s Declan Fusco beat Jonathon Palata (Balham) on a split decision.