PETER Cope looks to put a year of frustration behind him when he fights on the Summer Rumble on Sunday.
Cope announced his arrival on the big stage 12 months ago at this very event when he won the International Masters super-bantamweight belt.
The 10-round thriller with Gavin Reid confirmed his status as an exciting prospect with the entertainment factor being enhanced by the noisy support of his ‘Barmy Army’.
But Cope, and his supporters, have been seen only once since his title success, a North-East derby win over David Lake in February.
That means Sunday’s battle with Sheffield’s Kas Hussain at the Stadium of Light takes on extra significance.
Cope needs to win, and win well, to get his climb up the featherweight ladder moving again.
“I’ve boxed no where near as much as I’d like,” COpe told SportMail. “It’s done my head in to be honest.
“But I want to put all that behind me now and get a few fights in, straight off the belt.
“I’d love three or four this year and keep busy.
“These shows I’m on only come around every three months so if I miss one, it’s six months before I fight again.
“I’ve missed two promotions since the 2012 Summer Rumble so it means this is only my second fight in a yea.
“With a bit of luck I’ll now get a few in before Christmas.”
And while it is hard to imagine Cope coming a cropper at Sunderland, a match-up with Hussain will be no Sunday afternoon stroll.
When you think of Sheffield boxers, one of the first thoughts are of elusive, unorthodox operators from the Ingles gym.
It is certainly not the case with Hussain.
“That’s not his game, he’s quite stocky and he likes coming forward,” said the 22-year-old, who expects a tear up with the Yorkshireman.
“He looks well schooled and tough.
“I’d like to think that I’m always in good fights but, yes, I think so.
“He likes to come forward and I love a fight so it should be exciting.”
Cope is among a strong local contingent at the Stadium of Light.
His Gus Robinson Developments team-mate Anth Hardy is also in action when he makes his pro debut while Cope’s fellow Poolie, Mick Hadfield, also takes his fist steps in the pro game.
Neil Fannan and Dave Garside boxers, Martin and Tommy Ward, both box over six rounds at Sunderland’s football ground which stages 10 bouts in total.
FOR tickets, contact Peter on 07815991247