Over the past few weeks few will have spotted a lonely figure chugging along the roads which lead to Mount Teide and the sweat burning through his eyes, blinding him briefly before trickling down towards his gasping lips, and as boxer Nicky Cook eventually feels that the incline under his feet is slowly approaching vertical proportions at the base of the mountain he turns to head downwards, the run giving way to a merciful gradual descent.
- Down below he sees the ocean and the towering hotels of Las Américas and Los Cristianos, the area where shortly one of his dreams will be fulfilled, for Nicky and his lovely partner Sharon, who is very experienced in the nightclub business, are shortly opening a boxing theme bar to be called Ringside in the south of Tenerife. However Nicky has some unfinished business to see to, and another dream to fulfill before that. On Saturday July 16th he’s hoping to regain the world WBO super featherweight title which he lost to the Puerto Rican Roman Martinez over two years ago.
Nicky Cook, from Stepney, London, has been a professional boxer for almost 13 years and after being unbeaten in his first 15 fights he won the WBF Intercontinental Super Featherweight title in 2001, when he beat Argentinean Marcelo Gabriel Ackermann. He defended the title twice then in 2003 he won the Commonwealth Featherweight belt by beating the Zimbabwean Meshack Kondwani. Defending the title again he took on Cyril Thomas for the European title and won by way of a knockout. In June 2005 Cook challenged British champion Dazzo Williams for his title belt and when he stopped him in the second round it meant that Nicky then held the British, European and Commonwealth titles all at the same time.
Nicky eventually got a crack at ‘real’ world title belt in 2008 but was stopped in the 11th round by American Steve Luevano at the O2 Arena in London when they fought for the WBO belt. However a year later Nicky got another chance at a WBO title when he challenged Alex Arthur for the Super Featherweight belt. Arthur was favourite to retain his title but Nicky outsmarted the champion and produced an exhibition of classic boxing technique producing every punch in the book to win the title belt on a points decision. Unfortunately ‘Cookie’ as he is nicknamed, lost his title in March 2009 when the hard-punching Roman Martinez stopped him in the fourth round. In September last year the Scot Ricky Burns showed great toughness and newfound aggression to take the title from Martinez on points. In the meantime Nicky Cook had moved over here to sunny Tenerife and for the past two years has run personal training camps during his layoff which has kept him fit. But being fit and being ‘fighting fit’ are two different things and as Nicky has had only one six round fight in the past two years it would be a tremendous feat if he could retain is WBO title belt when he faces the champion Ricky Burns at Liverpool’s Echo Arena on Saturday July 16th. Nicky has many friends and fans on the island who will all be rooting for him along with his sponsors in Tenerife, the renowned Linekers Bar, Tibu nightclub and Telefónica.
Now hailed as one of Tenerife’s own, Nicky knows that he’s ‘lucky’ to get this world title shot, but he doesn’t believe his luck has run out just yet. I believe that Nicky Cook has a mountain to climb to win on Saturday but if the brilliant boxing technician of two years ago steps into the ring to tackle the champion we could all be in for a surprise.