Manawatu slugger's mettle faces test

GEORGE HEAGNEY
Last updated 11:30 23/03/2013

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Josh Cooper's undefeated run will face its sternest test at the fight night at Scorpion Gym in Palmerston North tonight.

The Manawatu muay thai kickboxer is facing Mike Foy and will be looking to extend his undefeated run of four fights.

Foy is fresh off training in Thailand, the home of the sport, and will be the hardest challenge Cooper has faced in his four-year career.

"It's reasonably big," Cooper said. "It's my biggest yet, but I wouldn't say it's overall big."

Cooper was keen to stay unbeaten, but wasn't sure what to expect from Foy.

"I'm taking him to be a bit of a danger. I've trained hard but I guess you find out on the night. His previous performances haven't been too bad."

If Cooper does win, it could go a way towards setting him up in the future for bigger fights or even a title fight.

"It is kind of a goal, but I'll take it one step at a time. I think a title shot within this year is doable."

The 24-year-old weighs 70kg and needs to be below 67kg for the fight, so was spending yesterday in the sauna, which he said wouldn't be fun, but it had to be done to meet the requirements.

Studying his masters in psychology, Cooper has been training about six days a week for the fight with training partner Pearse Shields.

The main event is Carl Tangen from Wellington against Dave Garnett, a North Island champion, and they will be fighting over three two-minute rounds at 72kg.

Also on the fight card from Manawatu is Levi Wells (Scorpion Gym), Shaun Pritchard (Feilding Wing Chun), Adam Hills (Feilding) and Belinda Dyer (Feilding).

As well as the 12 kickboxing fights, there will also be an eight-man Brazilian jiu jitsu tournament.

The BJJ fights will go for one three-minute round, instead of the usual five minutes, and if there are no submissions in that time, the fight is reset into a 60-second slam round, in which the first person to take the other to the floor wins.

The Scorpion Gym is in Bourke St, Palmerston North, and the first fight is at 7.30pm.

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- Manawatu Standard

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