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Nicky aims to unify world title

PUBLISHED: 11:01 06 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:45 05 October 2010

By LEN WHALEY NICKY COOK has set his sights on unifying the world super featherweight title in 2009 as he prepares to defend his crown for the first time next month. Stepney-born fighter Cook makes the first defence of his WBO world championship against

By LEN WHALEY

NICKY COOK has set his sights on unifying the world super featherweight title in 2009 as he prepares to defend his crown for the first time next month.

Stepney-born fighter Cook makes the first defence of his WBO world championship against Stephen Foster Jnr at the ExCeL Arena on December 6, but he is already looking forward to more high-profile fights next year.

The 29-year-old captured the WBO championship in September, upsetting the odds and Edinburgh's Alex Arthur when he was awarded a clear points verdict in Manchester.

Cook will celebrate a decade as a pro boxer when he steps into the ring to fight Foster Jnr next month and he is determined to cash in on his late success with a series of big-money world title fights next year.

"I heard [IBF champion] Cassius Baloyi's people want me to fight him, and I'd love that clash," said Cook, who a former British, Commonwealth and European champion at featherweight earlier in his career. "I definitely want a unification fight."

Cook has suffered just a single defeat in 30 fights over his 10-year pro career under the guidance of his father and successful trainer Paul.

Yet Cook admits that he plans to be busier than in recent years, when a combination of injury problems and some bad luck kept the local fighter on the sidelines for long periods.

Following his successful defeat of Arthur, Cook has featured in just eight contests over the past five years.

"I want to be fighting three or four times a year now," Cook said. "I have had a chat with Sports Network promoter Frank Warren and he thinks the same.

"It's great to have won the title in September and then get an immediate defence a few months later.

"I'm better when I'm active, and I'm confident I will enjoy a lengthy reign as WBO champion."

The undercard at the ExCeL Arena will feature some star names, including Enzo Maccarinelli, who is bidding to reclaim the WBO world cruiserweight title he relinquished to David Haye when he faces undefeated American Jonathon Banks.

Amir Khan also makes his comeback against Ireland's Oisin Fagan while Audley Harrison's overdue heavyweight clash with Belfast puncher Martin Rogan also appears on the bill.

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