There’s a new Cope in town as former senior national champion, Luke Cope, makes his professional debut in Darlington later this month.
The 20-year-old, younger brother of Hartlepool pros Peter and Daniel, has made the transition to the paid ranks and will trade, in the early stages at least, in the lightweight division.
Training with Imran Naeem at the Natural Progression gym in Stockton, Luke is already touted as being the most talented of the Cope brothers.
“I had 44 fights as an amateur, winning 37 of them,” said Luke.
“But I fancied a change as I’d been in the amateurs (junior and senior) for some eight years and was relatively successful with it.”
Having considered turning professional last year, the younger Cope fighter held off a little, biding his time before finally making the move this year - the Natural Progression Boxing Academy having been his home since the turn of the year.
Luke has his brothers Peter and Daniel to look up to, both of whom have title winning pedigree as well.
Peter is a former Northern Area champion and English title contender.
Daniel is also a former Northern Area champion.
Luke says he is as ready as he’ll ever be for that next step.
“It feels like ages that I’ve waited for this and I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
“I’ve been in the gym since January after a brief spell with Fanno (Neil Fannon) which was good for me.
“But this set-up now, it’s just around the corner from work so makes it much easier.”
Although eager to shine, the newest Cope on the fight scene has taken on board advice from elder siblings, as well as that of trainer Imran.
He continued: “I don’t want to over-impress, be too eager
“I’ve got four rounds and I just want to give a relaxed, good performance before moving on to the next one.
“It won’t be a big jump either for me because, having been around our Pete and Dan, it’s less of a shock with what happens, what is needed in the pro game, and yes, they’ve given me some advice as well.”
An added advantage for Luke is that there is already a sturdy fan-base for him as well, the north’s famous Barmy Army, led by Pete and Dan, will be out in force come fight night and, with a couple of sponsors already in the bag, Pristine Clean (Newcastle) and Aspire Bathrooms (Hartlepool), then it’s all systems go for the new Cope on the block on May 26.
A stacked fight card has seen the promoter load up the undercard with two local derbies, Ellis Corrie and Basi Razaq clashing in a Tees-Tyne derby for the British Challenge belt, former stablemates Richard O’Neill and Greg O’Neil, colliding, outings for Tommy Ward, Troy Williamson, the return of Chris ‘Hightower’ Burton, as well as further debuts for Mark Downing and Michael Watson.
Steve Wraith brings, in association with Keep Fit Darlington, For Whom The Bell Tolls, to the Dolphin Centre, Darlington, on Saturday 26 May – first fight scheduled for 7pm tickets are available from fighters or www.proboxingnewcastlegateshead.com priced £35 standard and £50 VIP.