Peter Cope says he must stick to the “game-plan” if he is to cause an upset in this evening’s Commonwealth lightweight championship eliminator, writes Roy Kelly.
The talented Hartlepool boxer tackles red-hot favourite Andy Townend in a 10-rounder at the Doncaster Dome.
Tonight’s show at the South Yorkshire venue has been dubbed “Repeat or Revenge” on the posters for the event.
Townend felled Cope twice in 2014 in the same ring on the way to a fourth-round stoppage but Cope is confident he can avenge one of only four losses on his record.
Cope, then boxing for the Gus Robinson Developments camp, started brightly in the English super-featherweight eliminator only to go toe-to-toe and come off second best.
But the 26-year-old southpaw has the tools to beat Townend, providing he avoids a war with the Barnsley man, known as the KO Kid.
“I do feel good,” said the NSL-sponsored boxer.
“I know everyone says their camp has gone perfectly and how they have never been fitter.
“But I do feel close to perfection, my weight has been spot on and I’ve sparred with a lot of different fighters.
“All has gone well and it’s about getting it right on the night.
“We’ve got a game-plan and I know I’ve got to stick to it if I’m going to pull it off.
“I believe in it and I think I can do it.”
Cope is now coached by Neil Fannan who has demanded greater discipline from the boxer who joined his Brierton gym in the summer of 2016.
Previously, the boxer would often be lured into a “tear-up”, roared on by his fans, known as the barmy army.
Cope though has remained true to Fannan’s orders and, boxing behind his jab, came close to a very good result in March in London.
There he led the unbeaten Irishman Paul Hyland Jnr at the halfway stage of their televised contest only to lose a disputed decision by two points.
Cope believes he is a better boxer today than the one who lost to Townend in November 2014.
“They [Townend and his team] think I’m in for a hard night,” said the former Northern Area champion.
“But I think I’m capable of giving Andy a hard night, that’s what I’m planning on doing.
“I did find it hard at the weight last time we fought.
“I’m not saying he wouldn’t have done that to me anyway, but this time I feel good at this weight and feel good in myself.”
The pair met yesterday at the weigh-in in Doncaster, where Cope tipped the scales at 9st 83/4lbs.
Townend, who failed to make the weight when he challenged for the Commonwealth super-featherweight title in May, came in at 9st 10lbs, a pound over the mark.
But after an hour’s exercise, he shed the excess and weighed in bang on the 9st 9lb limit.