Cook looks to the future

PUBLISHED: 15:35 07 February 2008 | UPDATED: 11:07 13 July 2010

ON a mixed night for East London s comeback boxers, there was a happy return for Nicky Cook at the ExCeL Arena in Docklands on Saturday – but disappointment for Ross The Boss Minter on the Sports Network promotion. Stepney-born fighter Cook hammered ou

ON a mixed night for East London's comeback boxers, there was a happy return for Nicky Cook at the ExCeL Arena in Docklands on Saturday - but disappointment for Ross 'The Boss' Minter on the Sports Network promotion.

Stepney-born fighter Cook hammered out a two round triumph over Bulgarian Kirkor Kirkorov to bounce back from the defeat he suffered in his WBO featherweight world title challenge against classy Californian Steve Luevano at the O2 Arena last July.

Kirkorov was strictly a trial-horse rival, but it was a win that Cook needed to build himself up for another title bid in 2008 - a year that looks vital for his fighting future.

The 28-year-old looked more comfortable at super-featherweight as he controlled the opening session with effective long range jabbing and powered solid shots to the mid-section.

In the second round, he effectively stepped up to the pace with more damaging blows, and a right to the body floored former WBU title challenger Kirkorov.

The Bulgarian got up but quickly returned to the canvas for a second count after a solid left hook to the mid section - then a finishing right sent him to the floor again.

After the third count, referee Mark Green signalled the end of the one-sided action in the final minute of the second round.

It was a satisfactory return for Cook who looked sharp enough punching his 28th win in 29 pro bouts.

Minter, from Newham's TKO gym, suffered his second successive stoppage defeat when Chorley rival Michael Jennings retained his WBU featherweight title with a ninth round victory in the chief supporting bout on the ExCeL bill.

Ever-game Minter had shown real bravery in defeat, but was cut on his nose, head and ear, and trainer Johnny Eames sensibly signalled surrender, tossing in the towel just as referee Mickey Vann moved in.

Minter provided his usual brand of determination and aggression but the talented titleholder had the edge in class, with his superior movement and hand-speed setting up the convincing victory.

Clearly rocked in the first round, the challenger, cheered on by father - former middleweight world champion Alan - had his bright moments and Jennings finished the fight with a badly marked face and was never able to relax against his aggressive rival.

But the whip-lash punches of the classy champion - beaten just once in 33 fights - took their toll and the end came in the final seconds of the ninth round.

Another TKO gym fighter, Matthew Marsh, showed no ill effects from his 11th round stoppage loss at the hands of WBU king Derry Matthews last October as he blasted Tanzanian, Ajibu Salum in the first round.

The former West Ham amateur switched his punches impressively to shake his awkward rival in the ExCeL clash.

Finally, a long right hand over the top had Salum bouncing off the ropes-he was counted out and required oxygen before being allowed to leave the ring.

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