Peter Cope must “keep out of the road” of Andy Townend in Commonwealth lightweight title eliminator

Peter Cope.
Peter Cope.

Peter Cope must “keep out of the road” of Andy Townend when the Hartlepool fighter takes on the big-hitting Tyke.

The old super-featherweight rivals meet in Doncaster tomorrow night in a Commonwealth lightweight title eliminator.

Townend has won 19 times, 13 inside the distance, one of his stoppage successes coming exactly four years ago inside four rounds against Cope in the same Dome ring.

Fannan is an admirer of Townend, and his manager, Stefy Bull, who promotes the show.

And the Hartlepool coach says that Cope must not get involved in a shoot-out with the powerful 28-year-old.

“I’ve watched a lot of Andy,” said Fannan. “When you watch his knock-outs, he doesn’t just have one KO punch.

“He has a full repertoire of knock-outs, left hook to the head, right hook to the head, left hook to the body and so on.

“You have to respect his power and we do.

“There is no way you can stand and trade with Townend – all his successes have come when his opponent has stood and traded with him.

“When you go in with Andy, you have to box him, and while it’s a big ask to keep out of his road for 10 rounds, there’s no way you can fight his fight.

“Andy will be full of confidence because he’s stopped Peter before and he might be thinking he’ll do it again.

“Will he take Peter lightly? I’m not sure, but Peter is determined he won’t be following Andy’s script.”

It’s a bold step by Team Cope to be going into the former English champ’s den, but the talented southpaw is not short of ambition.

The 26-year-old was in the away corner on a Matchroom show back in March, when he took on Paul Hyland Jnr over eight rounds at the York Hall in London’s Eastend.

Many fans and boxing observers felt that judge Jeff Hinds got the 78-76 scoreline in favour of the unbeaten Northern Irishman the wrong way round.

Hyland has since moved on to become the IBF European title holder and Fannan believes if Cope repeats his Bethnal Green contest, which was shown on Sky Sports, he can defeat Townend.

“Peter has improved since that night,” added Fannan. “I’ve seen that with all the work we’ve done in the gym, now it’s about producing it on the night.

“But I’m confident if he boxes like he did against Hyland then he can win.”

Cope, beaten just four times in his 19-bout career, deserves credit for tackling Townend in his rival’s backyard.

And Fannan says victory will open doors for the Netting Services Ltd-sponsored boxer.

“It will make a big, big difference to his career,” said Fannan, who will be in Cope’s corner for he fourth time tomorrow evening.

“Peter’s looked as right as rain in the camp, sharp as a razor.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing him in there tomorrow night.”