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Cook taunts champ Arthur ahead of title bout

PUBLISHED: 11:28 04 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:35 05 October 2010

By LEN WHALEY NICKY COOK has fired a sharp warning to Scotland s Alex Arthur ahead of their world super featherweight title clash by claiming: I m ready to rip that title off your head. Stepney-born Cook challenges Arthur for the WBO world crown at Man

By LEN WHALEY

NICKY COOK has fired a sharp warning to Scotland's Alex Arthur ahead of their world super featherweight title clash by claiming: "I'm ready to rip that title off your head."

Stepney-born Cook challenges Arthur for the WBO world crown at Manchester's MEN Arena on Saturday night and he has spiced up the contest by taunting his rival in the build-up to the contest.

Cook has predicted that he will easily overcome 30-year-old Arthur because he is in peak physical condition.

He said: "I am in the best shape of my life. I finished sparring at the weekend with 12 hard rounds against [Whitechapel-born fighter] Colin Lynes and with a few days to go before the fight, I am just one pound over the weight limit. I am in top condition."

Cook is so confident ahead of the clash that he has even has opened the doors to his training camp and invited Arthur watch him going through his paces in the gym.

Champion Arthur, who will make the first defence of his belt at the MEN Arena, had earlier moved his own training sessions to a secret location following fears that a spy was passing inside information to the opposition camp.

But Cook - who has promised that he will prevail in his second attempt at a world title - has ridiculed suggestions that he is desperate to find out what Arthur is doing.

"Why is he so worried about me finding out what they are working on?" asked the former European, Commonwealth and British champion.

"He's fought the same all his career - upright, no head movement and poor under pressure, and I don't see it being any different when he faces me.

"In fact, he's more than welcome to pop down to my gym and watch me train because then he'd know what he was in for - a bloody good hiding.

"I'll make him a cup of tea, lay out a few biscuits and let him put his feet up because he needs all the rest he can get ahead of next Saturday night.

"I really believe that I'm going to be leaving the ring finally crowned world champion - and all the secret training camps in the world won't do him any good. There will be no stopping me in Manchester."

But Arthur's trainer Wayne McCullough insists his man will come out on top in the Battle of Britain.

"Cook was beaten in his world title challenge against Steve Luevano last year with body shots so his camp will be working on how to nullify those.

"But we are working out a counter strategy - which is top secret - to negate their plans for the fight."

The pair have very similar records - both with a single defeat in almost 30 fights - but the bookies have made champion Arthur a 3/l favourite over 28-year-old challenger Cook.

Cook's father Paul, the former Bethnal Green pro fighter who currently acts as trainer for his son, is adamant that an upset is on the cards in Manchester.

"We know that the odds are against us but there is every confidence in that camp that Nicky will bring the title home," he said.

Cook will be encouraged by the performance of underdog Steve Foster junior, who had Arthur on the floor and in real trouble before losing a tight decision at the end of their clash in Edinburgh last December.

Frank Warren's latest show promises to be a memorable night's boxing with Arthur's battle with Cook sharing top billing alongside Amir Khan's outing against Colombian Breidis Prescott.

Tickets are available from www.frankwarren.tv and the MEN Ticketmaster hotline on 0870 190 8000.

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