Cook is set to turn up the heat

NICKY COOK returns to the scene of his greatest triumph on Saturday night, the MEN Arena in Manchester, to defend his WBO world super-featherweight title against the Puerto Rican challenger Roman Martinez. The local fighter pulled off a shock success at t

NICKY COOK returns to the scene of his greatest triumph on Saturday night, the MEN Arena in Manchester, to defend his WBO world super-featherweight title against the Puerto Rican challenger Roman Martinez.

The local fighter pulled off a shock success at the Manchester Arena when he defeated Alex Arthur in September to claim the WBO 9st 4lbs championship.

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

Promoter Frank Warren predicts that big things lie ahead if Cook comes through a winner on the card that features Amir Khan's showdown against Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera at the MEN.


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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 the promoter.

His rival 'Rocky' Martinez, 25, is clearly a worthy challenger who is still unbeaten in his 22 pro fights and fills the WBO number one spot and WBC number two in the world ratings.

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With just a single defeat in his 30 pro contests, Cook aims to keep busy in in 2009 and establish himself as a big name in the highly competitive super-featherweight division.

He is not worried that that the bookies have made his challenger a slight favourite, and said: "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.

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

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

Also on the Frank Warren bill, Enzo Maccarinelli faces Ola Afolabi, a Nigerian who was raised in London and now resides in Los Angeles. They meet for the Interim WBO cruiserweight title.

MEN Show tickets are available from Nicky Cook's ticketline 07973 566104.

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