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JASON COOK
Maesteg

European Lightweight Champion

Born: 27th February 1975
Nickname: The Power

Trainer: Bryan Evans
Manager: Barry Hearn

Fights: 26     Won 24    Lost  2    Draw  0


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.

First defeat
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.

Back on the winning trail
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.

'At Her Majesty's Pleasure'
Jason's occupation during his early fight career was as a full time postman - that was until the day he succumbed to temptation and used some of the credit cards that were in his postbag. A 15 month sentence for credit card processing fraud found a remorseful Jason sitting in a Pontypool Prison cell (he actually spent 24 weeks inside and another nine weeks 'tagged'). During the time spent at 'Her Majesty's Pleasure' he worked as a gym orderly and continued training on a punch-bag that was taken in for him. Jason also took part in the prison football team and was taken for 5 mile runs by a generous prison officer. It was opportunities such as these that helped Jason through his ordeal though he says, "It's [prison life] not an experience I would like to repeat".

Return to the ring
Jason Cook returned 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.

The Power....and the glory
Only 3 months ago,
Jason Cook was serving a jail sentence, his life, reputation and boxing career in ruins. But after just three rounds of boxing his life and career were hurtling upward. 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.

Touchingly, the new champ dedicated his win to the late grandson of trainer Brian Evans. Nathan Evans was an amateur schoolboy champion, winning 47 of his 50 fights, when in 1999 he sadly lost his life in a poolside accident. ďIíd like to let everyone know this was for Nathan Evans, I always said my first major title win would be for him. He was a great kid and such a talented fighter, he would have gone on to win everything as a professional. Nathan, this was for you.Ē

Euro title first defence
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.

From the first bell Jason was looking to impress his horde of fans with a quick knockout and indeed it was only Lakrib's bravery, and at times the ropes, which kept Nasser upright. The challenger took a fearful beating in the opening round with Cook landing fierce shots to head and body which must have had Lakrib wondering what he had let himself in for.

Lakrib had a better second round or more accurately, he didn't receive as much punishment from the champion as the first. However, the respite didn't last with the third and fourth rounds seeing Jason pick up from where he left off in the opening 3 minutes. 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. The jubilant Welsh fans roared as Jason thanked them for their support and said, "In 12 to 18 months I will be ready for a world title fight in fact I'm probably ready now !"  Cook's record extended to 19-1-0.

Cookie wins....but loses European title
In an extremely close, exciting fight Jason Cook, The Punching Postman, took a split points decision over the vastly experienced Italian, Stefano Zoff before a sell out crowd at Bridgend Recreation Centre.

The fight itself was as dramatic as events that preceded it when the champion weighed in the day before the fight 2 pounds overweight. With just two hours grace being granted to remove the excess weight the European lightweight champion could only manage to lose half a pound. So as Jason Cook stepped down off the weighing scales for a second time he lost his title there and then. The title immediately became vacant, which meant that only Stefano Zoff could win the title, if Jason won - or the fight was drawn - the title would remain vacant. Somewhat bizarrely the Italian found himself in the position of fighting for a title that his opponent no longer held.

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.

Cook slays Vincent in 3

Sept 6th 2003

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.

Jason's weight troubles had been well documented but comfortably made the agreed weight for this contest. This was vintage Cookie at his best, taking the fight to Vincent in his usual aggressive fashion from the first bell. Howard was clearly unsettled by Cook's tactics and found it hard to fend off the continued attacks.

Ripping in hard combinations to head and body, in the second and third rounds, Jason finally sapped all resistance from Vincent with a series of uppercuts near the end of the third. Howard went back to his corner and called the referee's attention to an injured hand. The injury was announced as the official decision for Vincent retiring on his stool at the end of the third. Although it seems that the battering he was taking may have been more than a convincing factor in his decision to retire.
 

Cookie powers to 'World' title

Nov. 8th 2003

Jason Cook became Wales second 'world' champion of 2003 when he 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.

Following Enzo Maccarinelli's 'world' title win in June, Cook also sealed his victory with a stunning left hook to leave his opponent, Argentinian Ariel Olveira, utterly defeated.

It would be fair to say that both Cook & Maccarinelli, along with almost all true boxing fans, do not regard themselves as true world champions by holding the little regarded IBO & WBU titles respectively.

Following a quiet opening two minutes in which Cook didn't throw a punch of any significance the crowd leapt to their feet as Olveira moved in but was met by, the first punch that carried any real intention from the former European champion, a powerful left hook that sent him reeling to the canvas. The Argentinian lightweight champion regained his feet to take a standing count and, with only 20 seconds of the round to go, survived to the bell.

Early in the second an accidental clash of heads had Jason reeling away in pain. Recovering after only a short period, Jason settled into his boxing. While Olveira scored well with lefts and rights none of his punches carried any real power to trouble the local fighter. It became evident that it was only to going to be a matter of time before 'The Power' would take the title when an overarm right, late in the second, again floored the visitor.

The third round saw Olveira battered from one side of the ring to the other as the Welsh fighter rocked him with almost every punch he threw. Sporting a bizarre looking bright green hairstyle, Olveira tried to make a fight of it and managed to stay upright until the fifth when he was again floored by a right.

Going into the seventh the Maesteg man had taken every round in what was by now a one-sided affair. Olveira's dream of becoming a 'world' champion was turning into his worst nightmare. With less than a minute to go in the round 'Cookie' provided the finishing touch to an impressive display, as he stalked his opponent across the ring before unleashing a wicked left hook which sent the unfortunate Argentinian crashing to the canvas once more. Referee, Marcus McDonnell took up the count but waved the fight over as Olveira's cornermen jumped onto the ring apron with towel in hand, to signal the end of their man's brave challenge.

Bennett beaten in scrappy affair

May 1st  2004

With an unconvincing display Jason Cook ground out an unanimous 116-112, 115-113, 115-113 points win over Hartlepool's Kevin 'The Bulldog' Bennett to retain his IBO lightweight title, in his first defence.

In what seemed to be an 'off' night for Cook he never really got to grips with his challenger and take charge of the bout in the manner that we had become accustomed to seeing from him. There were not many clean shots landed throughout and a fair amount of wrestling and general rough stuff that earned both participants frequent lectures from referee, Paul Thomas.

The Maesteg crowd were, as usual, in good voice as Cook came out for the first, but were not to witness the usual 'Power' onslaught. Instead Jason settled into his boxing and seemed content to counter as Bennett walked forward behind a high guard. Bennett though was playing his own waiting game as his preferred tactic was to draw Cook onto him and counter with hard body shots. Thus a rather scrappy, disappointing 12 rounds began.

The third round saw Jason take a visit to the canvas from an obviously low blow. However, the referee didn't see it that way and much to Jason's annoyance took up the count. Cook rose from the ring apron clutching his groin, clearly in some discomfort as Paul Thomas waved the fight on. The first real glimpse of Cook's usual aggressive style immediately came to the fore as he met an incoming Bennett with a flurry of hooks to put him on the back foot. Alas, this was one of only a few flashes of Cook's tenacity during the bout.

With neither boxer dominating there were many rounds that could have gone either way; in such a scenario the onus is on the challenger to wrench the title away from the champion. Therein lay Bennett's downfall. Staying behind his high guard he remained cautious throughout, even when for long spells during many of the rounds Cook did very little work.

For the first time, in the tenth round, Cook had Bennett in some trouble as he drove an absolute cracker of a right uppercut right through 'The Bulldog's guard. Never slow in seizing an opportunity Cook fired off with the customary left and right hooks - but with many of his shots missing wildly the attack just fizzled out. The final round saw Jason on the receiving end as he was caught with several solid combinations from the challenger but held on to take an unanimous verdict from the judges.

The Power on the wane

5th November 2004

After several injury scares (and change of opponent) IBO title holder Jason Cook finally stepped into the ring, six months after his first defence, to face Argentina's Aldo Rios.

Well known for having trouble making the lightweight limit there was little doubt that this was a contributive factor - if not the decisive factor - in Cookie's poor showing. 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.

Cook announces retirement

 

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

With several injuries blighting his career, most notably a shoulder injury Maesteg's battler commented, 'It's time for me to go now. 'I've had so much trouble with the shoulder over the years and tendonitis in an ankle which flares up when I do roadwork that I can't carry on at the top level. 'If I was going to fight four, or six-rounders, it might be OK, but life as a journeyman is not for me.'

'The Power' is back !

4th September 2009

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.

British Title fight......oh, so close

9th September 2006

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.

Jason Cook,  is 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 the in the ring. With a powerful left hook and under-rated boxing skills, the likeable, down-to-earth Cookie is always a major attraction on the Welsh boxing scene.

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