There’s s tough challenge ahead for Darlington light heavyweight, Steve Cooper, this weekend, when he travels to the Bowlers Arena, Manchester for a Northern Area title battle with Barrow’s Liam Conroy.
It comes off the back of a tough 2016, the Darlington fighter having just two outings, in August and November, the latter in his home-town, from a possible ten. A quiet start to this year as well has, quite possibly, had people ‘forget’ Cooper but the prospect of an Area title fight puts him right back in the public eye.
Conroy is a tough ask, and Cooper is aware he goes in as the underdog but the fight makes for an interesting contest irrespective of individual records.
“This is actually the second time of asking with this fight,” began Cooper.
“We were supposed to meet earlier this year but there was issues with my paperwork so I just kept training in the hope something else would come up.
“I had eight out of ten possible fights cancelled last year but something like this is an opportunity that doesn’t come around often so you have to take it with both hands.
“You have to jump in at the deep end if you want to get anywhere in life and I know this is a tough challenge so will be going in as the underdog.”
Cooper faces an experienced Conroy who, having had a brief spell at Gateshead College under Steve Cranston as a youth, won the WBC Youth Silver strap in June last year with a fourth round stoppage of Ferenc Albert.
Although the Darlington fighter’s most has been six rounds he is prepared to go the full ten in order to bring home the gold and will travel to Manchester Friday afternoon for the weigh-in before heading back the following day ready for his shot.
“I’ve been getting a lot of good sparring over Peterlee with Jonson McClumpha so my fitness levels are good.
“I’ve also been smashing bags and running well so feel I can be a lot better with timing and precision as we (with trainer Mike Hall) are expecting it to go the distance.
“I’m prepared for that eventuality and we’ve covered all aspects as Conroy is a good fighter but we’ve both suffered losses and he’s beatable.
“I’m not going to build up any hopes of a stoppage win but he has been put on the canvas a good five or six times and I’ve got plenty in the tank to be able to bring back the gold.”