Hartlepool boxers Greg O’Neil and Peter Cope chase special wins

READY FOR BATTLE: Gus Robinson Developments boxer Greg O'Neil
READY FOR BATTLE: Gus Robinson Developments boxer Greg O'Neil

GREG O’Neil and Peter Cope are gearing up for the biggest fights of their professional career.

Head coach Peter Cope Snr does not dare to dream about a double for the two young Gus Robinson Developments fighters.

Cope Jnr is favourite to beat Ian Bailey at Houghton on Friday to clinch the vacant British Masters super-featherweight belt.

But O’Neil must pull off a major shock if he is to get the better of Olympic hero turned pro Anthony Ogogo.

The middleweights meet tonight in Glasgow where many pundits expect the Horden fighter to be cannon-fodder for the London 2012 bronze medallist.

Coach Cope said: “We’re under no illusions about the Ogogo fight.

“But Greg can hit and we’ve got a puncher’s chance.

“It’s the start of a great week, hopefully a great year, for Gus Robinson Developments.

“We’ve been on a good run as an organisation – I think we’ve only lost one in the last 20 and that was when Greg was beaten in a challenge for the International Masters title.

“It would be sensational for us if Greg could pull it off tonight.

“We’re here to give it a proper go – all the pressure is on Ogogo. The expectation on his shoulders is massive.

“When they weighed in, there was a bit of needle between the pair of them but Greg did not seem fazed by it at all.

“He’s never been involved in anything like this before and I couldn’t predict how it will go. But, so far, all the signs are positive. Yes, he’s the underdog, but if Ogogo leaves an opening, Greg can

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take it.

“While Ogogo has to win, we’re very much in a no-lose situation and we’re looking forward to it.”

O’Neil weighed in at 11st 8lbs 10oz, with Ogogo just a pound lighter at 11st 7lbs 12oz.

While the 22-year-old local scrapper starts as the rank outsider tonight at a sold-out SECC arena, his team-mate at the West View Road gym will be expected to make it 10 wins out of 10 on Friday at Rainton Meadows Arena.

Cope Jnr is matched with Bailey, an experienced campaigner who is the Southern Area champion and an English title challenger.

It will be Cope’s second Masters bout after winning the International version at super-bantamweight at the 2012 Summer Rumble at the Stadium of Light, where he outpointed Gavin Reid.

While the 22-year-old’s ambition is fixed on bigger titles, success against the Slough man will move him forward.

“To win two belts in your first 10 bouts as a pro is pretty good going,” said coach and dad, Peter Snr.

“Yes, Peter’s aspirations are a bit higher, but Masters fights are good grounding for boxers.

“It is a hard fight and will give Peter experience as to how to get through 10 rounds.”

l FOR ticket info for Cope v Bailey, ring Peter on 07815991247