Theophane confident of crushing Cook challenge
Ashley Theophane expects experience to tell when he defends his British title on Saturday – despite being six years younger than his opponent.
Challenger Jason Cook is 36 and began his professional career 15 years ago, but has fewer fights to his name than the Kilburn light-welterweight, who is making his first title defence this weekend.
The pair clash at Wembley Arena – the venue where Theophane seized the British crown from Lenny Daws in February – and the former All Stars ABC amateur is confident of a similar outcome this time.
Cook drew with Daws in his previous challenge for the title 18 months ago and Theophane told the Times: “I think our common opponent tells the story of how this fight’s going to go.
“He boxed Daws and they were quite evenly matched, whereas I showed in February that I was the better fighter. I’m looking forward to putting on a show.
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“I’m a London boy, so I couldn’t have asked for a better venue than Wembley Arena to win the British title and it’s a great feeling to be going back there to defend it.
“Jason’s got a good pedigree – he’s the Welsh champion and he’s got a decent punch, so I need to show him respect. But there’s no way I’m going to let him come up from Wales and take the title.
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“He’s been a pro longer than me, but I’ve got more experience in terms of the fights we’ve had and I think I would have too much for him if we’d met at any stage of his career.
“With Lenny, he had the title and I wanted it, but Jason’s got to come chasing me – it’s probably his last chance. So my focus is that I’ve got a lot to lose.”
Yet Theophane also has plenty to gain – if he sees off Cook on Saturday, he plans to earn a Lonsdale belt by making two further title defences, the first of which would be against Nigel Wright, the English champion from Durham.
Long-term, Theophane’s target is to return to the United States, where he has spent much of his recent career, with former world title challengers Randall Bailey and Lamont Peterson touted as future opponents.
“I don’t see anyone in the top 10 in Britain who can beat me,” he said. “I want to box the best that’s out there and I believe I’ve got bigger fights in front of me.
“People like Bailey and Peterson are the ones that are being talked about. Amir Khan? I don’t see him as a likely opponent, but I do want to try and get to where he is in terms of the people he’s boxing.”
Theophane has repeated the routine he employed before defeating Daws on a unanimous points decision, spending a month’s training with Harry Keit at Gleason’s gym in Brooklyn before returning to London.
Keit will be in Theophane’s corner on Saturday, along with Dave Brown, the All Stars trainer with whom the 30-year-old has been completing his preparations for the fight.
“I’ve sparred the best in New York and come back to finish off where I started,” added Theophane. “I’ve stuck to the same thing I did before the Daws fight because, if it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it.”
Theophane’s title defence is the main supporting fight on the undercard of the Hennessy Sports show, which is headed by the eagerly-awaited British heavyweight championship clash between Dereck Chisora and Tyson Fury.
Tickets are available by calling the Wembley Arena ticket hotline on 0844 815 0815 or, alternatively, visit www.wembleyarena.co.uk.