PETER Cope must “keep the faith” on the road to boxing glory.
The Hartlepool fighter should today have been just seven days away from a shot at the vacant English super-featherweight title at the Copperbox Arena in London’s Olympic Park.
But the plug on his biggest ever night in the sport has been pulled after fellow challenger Mitch Smith withdrew because of a knee injury, as reported in SportMail on Thursday.
It has left the unbeaten Poolie at the end of his tether - it was the third title fight he’d been involved in to be called off inside six months.
But coach and dad says the future is bright for the gifted Gus Robinson Developments star.
“Peter has got to stick in,” said the trainer.
“He’s upset, frustrated, all those sort of things – we all are.
“I understand, I really do, I’ve been at this for 27 years, and there’s nothing worse than putting everything into training and then get no fight.
“It has happened three times now in six months, so that makes it even worse.
“But Peter has to be patient and keep the faith.
“His chance will come, the promoters are planning to put the fight on in June.
“It’s postponed, not cancelled like the previous two title bouts which went the journey.
“Given next Saturday was for a vacant title, I was worried that someone might leapfrog people.
l TURN to Page 54
“But I’m assured the British Boxing Board of Control will keep the fight with Smith as the title fight.
“I really thought we had a good chance next Saturday, even if we were on their home turf and their show.
“But we’ll make sure we are ready for June and give ourselves the best possible chance.”
Cope has looked ultra-sharp in the Gus Robinson Developments Gym and while he is in fabulous physical nick, his mental strength has been dented.
“Peter feels so sick,” said Cope Snr. “He says to me ‘it’s all right for you, it wasn’t you fighting’.
“But I feel flat too, I’ve put a lot of time, effort, thought and emotion in myself.
“I remind Peter how good he’s been over these last six months or so and that the fight will happen.
“If, and hopefully when, he wins then he has the belt and he’s in the driving seat.
“Having seen him in the gym and in sparring, I know he can become the champion.”