Matchoom boxing boss Eddie Hearn goes Barmy over Hartlepool star Peter Cope


EDDIE Hearn is a big fan of Peter Cope and his Barmy Army.

And that could lead to a great opportunity for the Hartlepool fighter when the Bradley Saunders bandwagon pulls up in the region next year.

Hearn has signed Saunders, formerly a team-mate of Cope in the Gus Robinson gym, for the Matchroom empire.

The 28-year-old will headline at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle on April 4 and Hearn says he wants the best and most exciting North-East talent on the show.

That could open the door for Cope, who has lost just one of his 11 pro fights, a challenge for the vacant English title in London in the summer.

The 23-year-old can not only box but has a massive following, of both sexes, who are not known as the Barmy Army for nothing.

“He’s got a nutty fan base,” Hearn told SportMail.

“Peter’s definitely not going to win a world title.

“He probably won’t even win a British title.

“But if he creates an atmosphere, if he’s in good fights, if he’s a little bit of a character and he’s a nice kid, give him a chance.

“It’s not just about ‘you’re not good enough, you’re not coming’.

“Four or five hundred of his lot are going turn up in their t-shirts with flags and drums.

“It would be a great show.

“We want an atmosphere at the event, not just non-charismatic fighters who are robots.

“What we want is personalities like Peter Cope and those sort of guys are more than welcome.”

The Matchroom supremo says the door to the Metro Radio will be opened to “four or five” local fighters who will share the big stage with some of their top stars.

Heavyweight prospect Anthony Joshua will almost certainly be on the card.

Hearn will look towards boxers like Cope, Sunderland’s Glenn Foot, former British cruiserweight title holder Jon Lewis Dickinson and new English super-fly champion Anthony Nelson as the supporting cast.

“It’s not about them having to be Matchroom fighters, it doesn’t matter,” he said.

“They can be with anyone they want.

“If they can sell tickets, if they can create excitement for boxing in the North-East then welcome to the show.

“We can grow with them because we want to be here three or four times a year.

“Anyone who wants to have a future in boxing has got to be part of this revolution.

“I don’t want to sound too Marxist but it is what it is.

“We’re going to go for it for boxing in the North East.

“Anyone who is fighting here needs to think ‘I should be on that card’.”

Before Cope can start dreaming of the possibility of performing in front of thousands at the Metro Radio Arena, he has a big date to negotiate in Doncaster first.

The Gus Robinson Developments southpaw will take on another of the country’s leading super-featherweight prospects, Andy Townend. Promoters hope the Barnsley v Hartlepool contest on November 29 can be an English title elimator.