Ultimate Boxxer contender Jimmy Cooper aims to emulate his uncle and become a British Champion through winning the exciting new tournament set to revolutionise British boxing.
The towering featherweight from Southampton competes in the premier of Ultimate Boxxer I on Friday 27th April at the Manchester Arena and wants to continue the family boxing success.
His uncle Gary reigned as British Light-Middleweight in 1988 in a tough and hard era with very few title opportunities. He only earned his first title shot seven years and 17 fights after turning professional when he challenged for and won the Southern Area belt – then still considered a major domestic title.
Three years later, Gary got his British shot and defeated Michael Harris on points at Wembley’s Grand Hall to win the vacant crown, but he cruelly lost it in his first defence against 80s golden boy Gary Stretch.
His next and final fight was probably his biggest win against future British champion and World title challenger Ensley “Bingo” Bingham who he defeated on points before hanging up his gloves.
Considered one of the most under-rated British Champions, Gary would have been more than a match for most of today’s British 154lb division fighters.
Jimmy, 25, now looks to carry the Cooper name into the new era and be crowned the first ever Ultimate Boxxer.
Standing at 6ft, Jimmy has a massive reach, but also carries heavy hands with it. A top amateur with 83 bouts, he defeated some big names like Mitchell Smith (2015 Boxing Writers’ Best Young Boxer), current Commonwealth Featherweight Champion Reece Bellotti and represented England.
“I’m extremely proud of my uncles achievements, to challenge for a British title, let alone win one was a massive feat in that era,” Said Jimmy.
“They were very hard and tough men in that time and my uncle had to duck and dive until he worked his way to get his opportunities and breaks,”
“I think now there are more opportunities in boxing and you can win titles a lot earlier, but it’s still a very tough world unless you’re with a top promoter who can give you the breaks and guide you”
“So in that respect it’s still like my uncle’s era, but that’s why Ultimate Boxxer is a fantastic concept because it gives a fighter like me a golden shot,”
Ultimate Boxxer I matches eight undefeated welterweight fighters to go toe-to-toe in an exhilarating elimination tournament – backed by ambassadors Ricky Hatton, Anthony Crolla and Paulie Malignaggi – to win a cash prize from a pool of £50,000 – and the chance to become boxing’s newest star.
The event offers fans more that just boxing with live entertainment acts and celebrities at ringside to give a transformed boxing experience for the next generation.
“I’m young, hungry and determined to win Ultimate Boxxer, I don’t care who I’m matched against and I’m sure that a lot of them won’t want to get me in the draw,”
“I believe I have the ability to go all the way to the top and this is just the sort of exposure I was looking for in my career,”
“My plans for this year were to step up to six rounds and target the Southern Area title, but now this fantastic opportunity knocked on my door and I’m going to smash it down,”
“I’m stepping up a couple of weights, but I believe in myself and the three-round distance suits me down to the ground. I’m fast and explosive and I’m going to enjoy the experience.”
Pro-record: 6-0-1 (1 KO)
Amateur pedigree: Started boxing at 11 and went on to have 83 bouts and represented England. Defeated Mitchell Smith and Reece Bellotti.
Trainer: Steve Tyrell
Cutman: Glenn Bradley
Strengths: Height, reach and heavy hands. Is a skilled combination puncher with a wealth of three-round experience from the amateurs
Weaknesses: Is just settling into the weight having started his pro career at super featherweight, but more weight could mean more power.
Punch power: Has a whirlwind 27-second win on his record, but every other fight has gone the distance. Throws lots of quality punches.
Speed: Throws fast rat-a-tat combinations
Stamina: Has yet to go beyond four rounds in pro career, so untested.
Anything else: Jimmy’s uncle, Gary Cooper, was British light-middleweight champion in the 1980s. Jimmy had a spell training with Tony Sims and sparred the likes of Ricky Burns.
THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW
Walk on music: “Usually ‘Sweet Caroline’ by Neil Diamond
Football team: Manchester United
Personal & Family life: “I’m from a Travelling background, so I have lots of relatives. I have two sisters and loads and loads of cousins.”
Music: “Blossoms and The Courteeners and Manchester bands.”
Fashion: “I’m a tracksuit man!”
Toughest moment: “Once when I was an amateur, the scales were wrong and I ended up having to lose 3kgs before a fight. I didn’t have anything left after the first round.”
Best moment: “Boxing for England as an amateur.”
Aspirations: “I want the Southern Area, then English title – and then work my way up.”
Nutrition: “I have a nutritionist and sports scientist who put wires on me and tell me how much water and protein I need.”
What got you into boxing? “I played in a football team that won the league three or four years on the trot and then they split up. My dad and uncle were boxers and I ended up going to the gym to box.”
Who was your favourite fighter? “Sugar Ray Leonard and now it’s Jorge Linares.”
Amateur record and achievements? “I had a 72-11 record, won the NABCs twice, Haringey Box Cup and boxed for England and had a spell up in Sheffield with the Great Britain squad.”
Who’s the best boxer you have sparred? Former Three-Weight World Champion Ricky Burns
What are your best assets as a fighter? “My hand speed, work rate and feet.”
What do you know about other fighters in the comp? “I don’t need to study them, I will work them out on the night.”
Goals in boxing? – “The pinnacle is the world title and every boxer aims for that.”
Who would you like to fight after UB? “I want 50-50 fights that will push me on. I feel I’ve served my apprenticeship.”
Nickname? “Super Cooper or Golden Boy.”
Favourite TV show? Ibiza Weekender
Favourite meal when not in camp? Roosters’ piri piri
Hobbies? Football, running, golf