This time last week was meant to be a moment where Adam Cope would revel in his triumph.
However, the English lightweight has returned to his native Hartlepool with a first career defeat after missing out on winning the English title against Hull’s Lewis Sylvester by unanimous-decision in Sheffield last Saturday.
The fight, tucked away low on the Dalton Smith Vs Sam Maxwell undercard on DAZN, showed much promise. It glared at British boxing fans from Boxrec as the two young men would put their undefeated records on the line in a 10 round title fight.
It was Sylvester’s hand that was raised to the crowd and the media’s bemusement. The feeling along press row was that the away fighter had won the fight comfortably, an old-age problem with the sport.
“I was given about five weeks notice for the fight.” Cope said in an exclusive interview for ProBox TV. “I was already training for a different fight, so I was fairly fit. My corner just told me to keep closing the gap, it was working. He was a good mover. I would never say he was no good. When I was in there with him he did some good stuff, his head movement was very good but that doesn’t win rounds. Throwing punches and landing on the other man, wins rounds. You can’t win a round by moving away all the time and not landing any shots.
“The 1st round was alright, I will give him that. I usually give it away anyway. From the second round I was closing the gap a lot more and all the better shots were landing by me. His corner was shouting all the way through rounds, saying he was landing good shots. Judges shouldn’t be swayed by that, I don’t know if it had any effect, but surely not with professional judges. He just didn’t do enough in any of the rounds. The commentary were all very biased to him, they always will be, because that is how boxing is. The commentary was disgusting, one of them was telling people watching that he was landing shots when he was actually getting hit! They probably know the score beforehand, probably trying to sway people watching at home. My corner were just telling me to keep doing what I’m doing, it was pretty calm, there was no panic there. I was boxing well.
“I would never accuse anybody of cheating.” Cope added. “There has to be something wrong when everybody in the arena, all the media, all of his own fans, everybody at home looking at the comments on Matchroom’s YouTube and social media had it the other way. I see neutral fans disgusted in it. There is something wrong with when three professionals get it wrong compared to everyone else, why can’t they get it right? It is frustrating, not accusing anyone of cheating but I suppose they have their own opinions. Nobody thought he won that fight.”
Cope sits feeling harshly treated after Sheffield now with a record of 7-1, a rematch with Sylvester surely the justified remedy for what happened.
“There is not a lot you can do.” Cope explained. “We will put in for a rematch, it will probably get turned down but I hope the board do the right thing and watch it back and see the disgrace it was. Make me straight mandatory and I can then fight whoever. I don’t think I have any trouble winning at this level. I think he is good enough to be English champion, don’t get me wrong. I just think I am a level or two above. I definitely showed it last Saturday.
“I’ve seen an article where he turned the rematch down before it was even offered to him. I don’t think they will want to put him in for a rematch, it will be too much risk. If anything I’ll be even better next time, not him. I wasn’t actually at my best, but I still thought I was well above.”
Whether you win, lose or draw, all fighters ultimately look to who they are boxing next after any bout.
“I do keep saying to everyone that it is not Lewis’s fault, do you know what I mean?” Cope explained. “He went in there and tried his best, I do see people giving him stick. It is not his fault! I have to make that clear, he is just trying to do what I’m trying to do. With me? I just got to keep plugging away really. Hopefully I get offered another decent fight. I don’t really want to come back home and fight, I worked hard to get to this level. It would be really unfair if I had to go back to that level and start over again. I feel I’ve proved myself to stay here. I wouldn’t mind jumping into to a similar type of fight.”