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Boxing: Cook hopes for a Dunne deal at home.

Byline: Gareth Jones

JASON Cook could be heading for a showdown with WBU lightweight champion Colin Dunne some time next year - and it could even happen in his beloved Maesteg.

Following his successful first European defence in his home town last weekend, 27-year-old Cook was dreaming of a world title shot at the rugby ground, just 100 yards from the sports centre which hosted his fifth-round stoppage of Frenchman Nasser Lakrib. And while the WBU bauble may not be in the top rank of honours, London-based Liverpudlian Dunne has earned respect with seven defences over a five-year reign and established himself as Britain's top man at the weight. That is a supremacy Cook can now justifiably challenge.

The Welshman must first fulfil his mandatory obligation against Stefano Zoff, the previous holder - although the Italian's manager, Salvatore Cherchi, is at the WBO congress in Panama this weekend, apparently trying to get him another crack at that organisation's champion, Artur Grigorian. The unbeaten Uzbek was given a controversial decision over Zoff in September.

If Cherchi's pleas succeed, 36-year-old Zoff may give up his European claim, with someone else stepping up as official challenger. Alternatively, the mandatory might be put back until after a Zoff-Grigorian rematch. This would be ideal for Cook, who could then fit in a further voluntary defence.

But once Zoff - or his replacement - has been accommodated, Dunne could be the next target. He, too, boxes for Matchroom, so there are none of the usual contractual hang-ups.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 2, 2002
Words:247
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