Boxing: Cook must defeat Argentinian to create worthwhile future

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The Independent Online

It has been a frustrating year for the Welshman Jason Cook, but tonight he has the opportunity to finish it in style.

In January, Cook lost his European lightweight title on the scales when he was 2lb over the limit. Under an archaic European Boxing Union rule his fight against Italy's Stefano Zoff went ahead and Cook scraped a lucky win, but the title was declared vacant.

For some bizarre reason Cook was then overlooked when a fight was made for the title between Zoff and Liverpool's David Burke. Cook, who at the time had suffered an Achilles injury to add to his problems, watched in horror as Zoff easily beat Burke.

Tonight, Cook, fighting in front of his home-town fans at the Bridgend Recreation Centre, has been given a vacant title fight for the International Boxing Organisation lightweight championship against a relatively unknown but apparently durable Argentinian Ariel Olveira. For Cook it is a fight that he simply must win to put himself back on course for something slightly more meaningful in the immediate future.

Cook had apparently turned his career around last year when he travelled to Italy after only 10 days' notice to win the European title for the first time by knocking out Sandro Casamonica. It was a stunning victory as he had only recently completed a six-month sentence for credit card fraud.

"I seem to have had more than my fair share of ups and downs and I hope that I can get this title and then get on with making some real money,'' said Cook.

If Cook is strong at the weight he will undeniably have too much power and determination for Olveira, but his long-running battle with his diet and his weight could take its toll if the fight becomes a drawn-out affair. Cook must start as favourite, but visitors from Argentina are notoriously difficult and resilient so a fight of attrition appears likely.