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JASON COOK
Maesteg

European Lightweight Champion

Nickname:
The Power

FIGHT RECORD

 


A  successful start to Jason Cook's professional career, with 5 straight wins, followed his highly successful amateur exploits in which he won a Commonwealth Games silver medal, two Acropolis Cup gold medals and a bronze in the Italian Cup. He was on his way.........or so we thought.

In Jason's sixth pro fight he faced southpaw circuit fighter Trevor Smith, of Birmingham, a none too difficult task it seemed and another win for Cookie. However, boxing proved once again just how unpredictable it can be with Smith scoring a sensational first round stoppage win over Cook. Having suffered his first loss at professional level Jason was typically gracious in defeat, "He clipped me with an overhand left and though I got up at six or seven, I was in no state to continue; the referee did the right thing", he said afterward. A ninth month layoff was followed by a return to winning ways with a fourth round stoppage win over Darren Woodley. Two wins later saw Jason come up against Woody Greenway to contest the Welsh light welterweight title. As it turned out it was hardly a 'contest' as Greenway succumbed in the first round to hand Jason the domestic title. Four wins in 2000 and another in 2001 took Jason's record to 14-1-0 when his life took an unpleasant turn for the worse. An enforced lay off 'at her majesty's pleasure' saw Cookie return to the ring in February 2002, with a superb  first round win over Nono Junior. Two fights, in a month, resulted in two east Europeans (Andrey Devyataykin and Viktor Baranov) becoming Cook victims by way of points wins.

August 2nd 2002, the Maesteg fighter (now 18-1) had the chance to contest the European lightweight championship with just 10 days notice. Evoking memories of Steve Robinson, he didn't hesitate to accept and took his chance in startling fashion.

Cook travelled to Italy and destroyed world ranked Italian, Sandro Casamonica in 3 rounds to take the title; even getting off the floor himself to do it. Immediately the first bell rang Cook went on the offensive, taking the fight to Casamonica. Having won the first two rounds Jason continued to attack in the third but got walloped by a right from Casamonica and found himself on the deck. The Welsh dragon got up and was now breathing fire! During the inevitable onslaught that followed from the champion, in his effort to finish the fight, Cook unleashed a devastating left hook that knocked Casamonica out cold. It is widely understood that to beat an Italian in Italy you have to knock them out; well there was no mistaking that Casamonica was out !  The referee didn't bother to count. Jason Cook was the new European Lightweight Champion.

ďItís like a dream; my life has changed, it still hasnít sunk in. That was the best punch Iíve thrown in my life, and it came when I most needed it. Iím ecstatic; Iím walking around on a cloud. This is all like a dream to me. Iíve changed my life completely, and I knew I had the strength inside me to change my life - boxing has given me the chance", said a jubilant Jason afterward.

Jason Cook successfully defended his European lightweight title by halting challenger Nassser Lakrib in just 5 rounds to the delight of the home crowd spectators. In his first defence of the crown Jason was always on top with his body punches proving to be the downfall of the game Frenchman. Light-hitting Lakrib just didn't possess the strength or punch needed to keep the Welshman they call 'The Power'  from launching his continual damaging attacks to the body. The fight ended in the fifth with Lakrib pinned in a neutral corner under a sustained 'Power' attack to head and body; finally his brave resistance ended as he dropped to his knees prompting the ref to step in to end the one-sided affair.

In what was scheduled to be his first defence of the newly won European title the champion weighed in 2 pounds overweight. So as Jason Cook stepped down off the weighing scales he had lost his title. The title immediately became vacant, which meant that challenger Stefano Zoff, an extremely seasoned campaigner, could claim the title, should he win. If Cookie won then the title would remain vacant.

 At the opening bell it was clear that 'The Power' was determined to show who was the boss and set about taking charge of the fight as he typically stormed into the former WBA world champion, throwing heavy shots to head and body in ferocious combinations. Though never in any real trouble, Zoff spent most of the first round attempting to stay out of harms way. The second round began much as the first, with Cook scoring with heavy shots and forcing the fight, then suddenly as Cook came forward he was met with a short left jab which dropped him to one knee. More embarrassed than hurt, Cook got up at four displaying clear annoyance at himself before literally hurtling himself back at the Italian to regain the initiative.

In the third Jason connected with a solid left hook followed by a forceful right which prompted Zoff to display his defensive qualities as he rode out the storm. The infighting was not for the faint-hearted as Cook ripped in hooks to head and body with his opponent trying to match him but not able to keep up with Jason's vast work rate and power of punch. Zoff resorted to holding in the clinches which clearly annoyed the Welshman who promptly would try to throw his opponent off  and gesticulate to the referee. As the infighting got progressively rougher - with all manner of rule violations going on - the fifth round saw Cook being deducted a point by the referee for allegedly butting his opponent as they both lay over the top rope after yet another bout of furious tussling inside.

The middle rounds belonged to Cook as he relentlessly charged down his foe scoring all the while with big lefts and rights, but by now Stefano sensed he had seen the Maesteg man's best work and was coming into the fight more and more. The eighth round saw a now visibly tired Cook slowing down to a pace which was more suited to the cagey Italian who began to land with increasing frequency and often made Jason miss wildly which resulted in the Welshman crashing, off balance, to the floor or into the ropes. From the ninth round Cook was fighting on heart alone as Zoff picked him off when Jason made sporadic charges in an attempt to prevent Stefano taking charge of the fight. The Italian had warmed to the task in hand and was forcing Jason backwards repeatedly while landing good, solid shots on the target areas.

From somewhere Cookie found the strength to make Zoff think again, in the eleventh, as he set about whipping in some really hurtful shots, particularly to the head. The final round was contested mainly with Zoff attacking and scoring with both hands as Cookie lay against the ropes, bobbing and weaving, looking to land the one big shot - his famed left hook. The pay off punch didn't land this time and the decision went to the judges who scored the fight, 115-113 in favour of Zoff and 114-113 twice in favour of the winner, Jason Cook. Cookie won the fight but lost his title.

Showing absolutely no sign of ring rust after eight months of inactivity and more than a few setbacks, Jason Cook returned to the ring with a superb win over experienced Howard Vincent (Guyana) in 3 rounds. Cookie then took the vacant I.B.O. lightweight title with a trademark display of power punching before a standing room only crowd at Bridgend Recreation Centre. The victory was sealed, in the 7th, with a stunning left hook to leave his opponent, Argentinian Ariel Olveira, utterly defeated.

A first defence of the IBO title resulted in an unconvincing display with an unanimous 116-112, 115-113, 115-113 points win over Hartlepool's Kevin 'The Bulldog' Bennett to retain his IBO lightweight title. Six months later, 'The Power' stepped into the ring, to face Argentina's Aldo Rios.

Rios, a genuinely world class performer who had lost only 3 fights to date - with all his losses being in world title challenges -   looked to be in for a busy night as the first round began with Jason unloading his characteristic left and right hooks. As the round progressed the challenger began to assert himself with the crisper and classier looking shots. The second began much as the first round until Rios shook Cook with a solid right and began to unload to easily take the round. The end came in the third when Cook was sent to the canvas by a straight right. Although gamely climbing off the ring apron, Cook was defenceless against the follow up attack prompting the referee to step in and halt the bout.

With just one fight in a years, a second round disqualification win against Gary Reid, Jason Cook announced his retirement from the ring.

After an almost 4 year lay off, Jason Cook once again showed his power with a successful return to the ring by stopping Northern Ireland's, Scott Jordan in the fourth of a scheduled six round bout at Middlesbrough. A clash of heads in the third left Jordan with a badly cut eyebrow however, it became academic as in the next round Cook landed the famed left hook whereby Jordan crashed face first to the canvas; the fight was immediately called off by the referee.

Entry into the 'Prizefighter' 3 round contest for light-welterweights saw Jason achieve success by way of a 3 round TKO over Michael Grant before exiting the tournament by a points loss to fellow Welshman, and former World Champion, Gavin Rees.

 A shot at the British Light-Welterweight Title was next on the colourful Welsh fighters agenda, against London's Lenny Daws. Daws, only beaten once in 23 fights going into the bout was a strong favourite against the relatively inactive Cook, who had only boxed 10 rounds competitively in the last 4 years. Sadly, Cook was foiled in his attempt to bring another title back to Wales after the fight finished in a 12 round draw.

Nine months later (Nov. 2010) saw Cook challenge for yet another title; this time for his old Welsh Light-Welterweight championship against Ferndale's, Barrie Jones. Cook's experience and superior strength saw him power to a 6th round stoppage to once again become Champion of Wales.

2011 saw Jason claim another 6th round stoppage, this time  Mounir Guebbas being the victim and another unsuccessful tilt at the British Light-Welterweight Title, losing by 10th round stoppage to title holder, Ashley Theophane. This was followed by a 3 round stoppage of Laszlo Szekeres in October.

A year and a half after his last fight Cookie came back (again) to contest a hard fought battle with the undefeated Glenn Foot, of Sunderland. It was a step too far as Jason was dropped in the third round, suffered a cut eye in the sixth and after going down again in the seventh the fight was called to a halt. Just 2 fights later, ending his career with a 3 round loss in a Prizefighter tournament Jason Cook finally called it a day for the last time.

Jason Cook,  was certainly one of the more colourful and entertaining fighters to watch. Always adorned in Welsh regalia, the Maesteg fighter took the European crown in a major upset on foreign soil; a title he never lost in the ring. With a powerful left hook and under-rated boxing skills, the likeable, down-to-earth Cookie was always a major attraction on the Welsh boxing scene.

 

 
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