Adam Cope is just one bout away from reaching his second successive ABA championship finals weekend.
The Hartlepool boxer is through to the pre quarter-finals after a tough, but excellent, win over Birtley’s Jake Slater in the Tyne, Tees & Wear final at North Shields.
Cope had seen of Aaron Howden, from Middlesbrough, in the semi, but this was a step up in difficulty for the 19-year-old.
But he came through to make the last 16.
Twelve months ago, the Gus Robinson Developments star competed in the inaugural ABA championship finals weekend in Liverpool, where the quarters, semis and final were contested on consecutive days.
He got to the last four at the Echo Arena, only to lose to GB champion and Rio Olympic Test event gold medallist Luke McCormack in a bloodbath.
Ironically, McCormack and Slater are team-mates at Birtley and Slater proved an equally-difficult hurdle to clear in the Tyne, Tees & Wear ABA final.
Cope, though, had the better of the first of three exciting rounds against the much-decorated Birtley boy.
Cope started the brighter, catching Slater with some sharp jabs followed up by some quality combinations which had his opponent on the back foot for most of the round.
After clearly taking the first round, the Hartlepool teenager was involved in a lot closer second session as Slater stepped up his game and this round could have been scored either way.
Knowing he needed a big round in the last, Cope came out from the start and pressured his opponent, punishing every mistake with some quality counter punching.
As the round went on, the fitness and strength of the Poolie began to tell and his opponent started to tire allowing last year’s national semi-finalist to win the final three minutes convincingly to take the bout on a split decision.
The Gus Robinson Developments corner of Lee Cope and Mick Hart were delighted by his display and now wait to hear who he will face in the pre-quarter finals.