Cook confident ahead of Martinez showdown

Nicky Cook returns to the scene of his greatest triumph on Saturday night knowing he has a chance to earn an even more valuable victory

Nicky Cook returns to the scene of his greatest triumph on Saturday night knowing he has a chance to earn an even more valuable victory on this occasion.

Cook defends his WBO world super-featherweight title against Puerto Rican challenger Roman Martinez at the MEN Arena in Manchester, where the Stepney-born fighter defeated Alex Arthur in September to claim the WBO 9st 4lbs belt.

He is well aware that victory over mandatory challenger Martinez will open the door to the big money fights he has dreamed of during his 10-year career in professional boxing.

Promoter Frank Warren predicts that big things lie ahead if Cook emerges as a winner on a card headlined by Amir Khan's showdown against Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera.


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"Nicky has made it very clear that he wants to unify the various super-featherweight titles and that's what we are looking to do later in 2009 if he wins in Manchester," said Sports Network boss Warren.

Rival 'Rocky' Martinez, 25, is clearly a worthy challenger, who remains unbeaten in his 22 pro fights and currently occupies the No1 spot in the WBO rankings and is rated No2 in the world by the WBC.

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But with just a single defeat in 30 pro contests of his own, Cook is confident that he can overcome Martinez and establish himself as the top name in the highly competitive super-featherweight division.

"I've watched a few DVDs of Martinez in action and he is an exciting fighter who likes to throw a lot of punches, but he does get hit a lot," Cook said of the Latin American challenger, who is considered a slight favourite by the bookmakers.

"Martinez had to go all 10 rounds for a points win over Walter Estrada, who my stablemate Kevin Mitchell had already stopped in five rounds."

Cook, who has returned from a three week training camp at Jimmy Yellop's TKO Gym in Tenerife, added: "It's a big plus that the fight is over here and I'm confident that I am going to have my hand raised."

On the undercard of the Sports Network bill, Enzo Maccarinelli faces Nigerian Ola Afolabi, who was raised in London and now lives in Los Angeles, for the interim WBO cruiserweight title.

MEN show tickets are available from Nicky Cook's ticket hotline on 07973 566104.

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