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Tough Cookie Nick bulks up for world title

PUBLISHED: 17:17 03 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:25 05 October 2010

By LEN WHALEY NICKY Cook will be handed the biggest night of his fighting life when a clash against WBO world super featherweight champion Alex Arthur is confirmed later this month. The Stepney-born fighter is desperate to lift a world championship to cr

By LEN WHALEY

NICKY Cook will be handed the biggest night of his fighting life when a clash against WBO world super featherweight champion Alex Arthur is confirmed later this month.

The Stepney-born fighter is desperate to lift a world championship to crown a highly successful nine-year professional career, which has already seen him claim British, Commonwealth and European awards.

And Cook now looks certain to be given a shot at world champion Arthur on a high-profile night at Manchester's MEN Arena on September 6.

Promoter Frank Warren announced this week that he is close to finalising an opponent for the Edinburgh fighter, who defends his title on a bill that will also see Amir Khan launch a defence of his Commonwealth crown.

Cook is widely expected to be announced as Arthur's opponent on the Sports Network promotion, which will mark the Scot's first defence of the title since he was declared the WBO champion in May after Joan Guzman gave up the belt.

"Negotiations for the Arthur fight have been going on for some time," said Cook's father and trainer Paul, the former Bethnal Green pro fighter. "It is a great chance for Nicky and one he intends on taking."

Show promoter Warren is predicting an exciting night's action in the two-title showdowns at the MEN Arena.

"Arthur and Khan are both big punchers and they can both look a little bit vulnerable, so the fans are guaranteed a thrilling night's action," said Warren.

The 28-year-old Cook believes he can expose Arthur's vulnerability and grasp this chance following a world title defeat against classy Californian Steve Luevano last summer.

That defeat - Cook's only loss in a 29-bout pro career at featherweight - was his first shot at the world title that he craves.

But he is convinced he can triumph in the higher division and overcome Arthur in Manchester to claim a world super featherweight crown.

Cook, who always battled to make the featherweight limit, feels more comfortable with the extra poundage and looked destructive when he came back in February with a two-round win over Kirkor Kirkorov at the ExCel Arena in Docklands.

That extra punching power could make a crucial difference in a clash with the 30-year-old Scot.

Arthur boasts a similar professional record of a single defeat in 27 appearances since making his paid debut back in 2000.

He has typically reserved his best performances for fights in his native Edinbugh but Arthur is unconcerned about making the journey south to face Cook.

"I've fought often in Manchester and have lots of friends and fans down there so it won't bother me in the least," Arthur said.

"All I'd like to learn is who my next opponent is and then I can start training for them."

Arthur's lone defeat came in a shock fifth-round stoppage loss against Michael Gomez when they clashed in a British title fight in 2003.

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