Peter Cope admits he can afford no repeat of his last North-East derby when he steps out for his next local affair, against Abdon Cesar.
That assessment comes following the media conference to launch his British Challenge Belt bout at Gateshead Leisure Centre on Saturday, June 25.
Abdon Cesar will be a hard fight but I need it to push me onPETER COPE
Eleven months ago, the Hartlepool fighter hoped his Northern Area title defence against John Green would be the stepping stone to bigger and better things.
Alas, Cope was outpointed by the Middlesbrough fighter at the Summer Rumble at the Stadium of Light.
Now, just one bout on, though several called off, the Gus Robinson Developments star has further Teesside opposition in just three Saturdays from now.
He will face 2012 Olympic Games boxer Cesar over eight rounds for this event.
The 30-year-old Cameroon fighter has made Stockton his home and has three wins and seven defeats on his professional tally.
Much of his career has been spent on the road and a look beyond the plain stats reveals a dangerous customer, but Cope concedes there is no room for error.
“Abdon Cesar will be a hard figh, but I need it to push me on,” said the 25-year-old.
“This year I’ve taken on loads of hard fights, but none of them have come off.
“I am just glad to finally get a contest and I’d like to thank Fighting Chance Promotions for putting it on.
“But I know I really need to win this then push on.
“I’ve learned from the John Green fight and I know I can’t afford any slip-ups.”
Cope has lost only three times in his 15-bout career, all three in title-standard contests.
And he hopes victory on June 25 will move him closer to the English lightweight belt – a prize he challenged for in the summer of 2014 when he was beaten in London by the crafty cockney, Mitchell Smith.
“I’m 25 now, so it’s probably make or break for me in boxing,” he told SportMail.
“If I’m going to make it in the sport, it’s going to have to come in the next year or two.
“I’d like to get back to where I was then [against Smith] by the end of the year.
“I’m experienced enough to think I can fight anyone, but I also know it’s one step at a time and I have to get this out of the way before i can think of anything else.”
Tickets are already on sale and moving well, with Cope hopeful of a good backing at Gateshead.
“I’ve not boxed much have I, so it would be nice to have the Barmy Army there supporting me,” said the southpaw, whose last appearance was an untidy points win over Daniel Bazo in Houghton last November.
“I’d like to thank the fans, as always, and Netting Services Limited for sponsoring this fight.”