By Terence Dooley
Liverpool's John Watson will face hard hitting Welshman Jason Cook on the undercard of Tony Bellew's British light-heavyweight title defence against Danny McIntosh at the Echo Arena, Liverpool on 14 April. The 28-year-old hopes to use the dangerous assignment as a means of finding top form and breaking into title contention.
Watson, 14-3 (6), made it through to the semi-final of last weekend's Prizefighter: The Light-Welterweights competition. The former lightweight beat Dean Harrison by first-round TKO in his first fight of the night before dropping a unanimous decision to eventual winner Adil Anwar. They were Watson's first bouts since losing a British lightweight title tilt courtesy of a sickening ninth-round KO defeat to Anthony Crolla in February 2011. His other British title challenge resulted in an eleventh-round stoppage to Gavin Rees in November 2010.
A 2004 ABA title winner at lightweight, Watson has struggled to bring his amateur form over to the pro ranks. Watson, though, feels that a switch to Oliver Harrison's gym in Salford has given him a boost ahead of a crucial period in his paid career and has expressed his delight at securing the showdown with Cook.
Dave Coldwell, the promoter of April's show, which will be televised live on Sky TV, believes that his man can make a splash up at 140lbs. “Obviously I’m delighted to have a quality fight like this on the show,” said Coldwell. “I'm sure the clash in styles will have fans on the edge of their seats, be it at home or watching on Sky Sports. John has shown he's a bit more powerful up at the new weight; he still is probably technically the better boxer whereas Jason is without doubt the puncher of the two. Both can be hit so I think we're in for a cracker.”
Cook, 29-4-1 (15), won EBU and IBO titles at lightweight, but he has not notched up a title win at 140lbs since picking up the Welsh Area lightweight belt in 2010. 'The Power' challenged for the British belt last summer, losing to current holder Ashley Theopane via a tenth-round KO.
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