Tenerife test as Nicky battles to save career

THE FIGHTING future of former world super-featherweight titleholder Nicky Cook will be decided on the slopes of Mount Teide on the sunshine Island of Tenerife at the end of the month, writes LEN WHALEY. The 30-year-old, still rated the number one super-fe

THE FIGHTING future of former world super-featherweight titleholder Nicky Cook will be decided on the slopes of Mount Teide on the sunshine Island of Tenerife at the end of the month, writes LEN WHALEY.

The 30-year-old, still rated the number one super-featherweight in the UK, admits he could be forced to finish his 11-year pro career, which includes 29 victories in 31 fights, because of recurring spinal trouble.

He has not boxed since losing his world crown to talented Puerto Rican Roman 'Rocky' Martinez in the fourth round of their clash at the MEN Arena in Manchester last March.

The injury has been responsible for keeping him on the sidelines for almost a year and although he has been taking expert advice, Cook has been unable to find a cure.


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"The back pain is there all the time, despite all the treatment I have undergone from leading medical specialists, which included a course of cortisone injections," said Cook this week.

However, Cook has been able to keep busy on his new venture, building a successful career as an instructor, coaching general fitness and boxing tuition at his own gym in Romford.

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"Things have been going really well and I will be flying out with a group to Tenerife on January 28 for some specialised training."

Cook will be based at the popular TKO Gymnasium in Tenerife, where he has regularly trained for big fights during his career, with runs on the slopes of the 6,200 feet high Mount Teide.

"While I am working with the group out there I plan to go flat out, pushing my own fitness levels in the gym and with some hard runs up the mountain. I will then see how my back responds - and decide whether I can box again.

"Quite frankly I will not consider returning to the ring to box as a six or eight-round fighter - I will only be back for big title fights," said the boxer whose only two pro defeats both came in world title clashes - against Martinez last year and Steve Luevano at featherweight, earlier in his pro career.

It would be a real blow for Cook, trained by his father Paul, a former West Ham amateur and pro, throughout his highly-successful ring career.

Nicky also won British, Commonwealth and European crowns - and did not lose any of those titles in the ring.

Just a year ago, the future looked bright as he held the WBO super-featherweight crown he had won the previous September from Scotland's Alex Arthur in Manchester, and looked set to earn big money from some lucrative defences.

The first of these was against Martinez on a Frank Warren show in Manchester last March and, for three rounds, it went to plan as Cook controlled the action.

However, in the fourth session, it all went wrong as the world titleholder walked into a powerful attack from Martinez and went crashing to defeat with the WBO belt on its way to Puerto Rico.

His hopes of a rematch with Martinez or any early return to boxing action disappeared with the troublesome back problem that is now a serious threat to the ring future of a classy champion.

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