August 2nd 2002,
the Maesteg fighter (now 18-1) had
the chance to contest the European lightweight championship with just 10
days notice. Evoking memories of Steve Robinson, he didn't hesitate to
accept and took his chance in startling fashion.
Cook travelled to Italy and
destroyed world ranked Italian, Sandro Casamonica in 3 rounds to take the
title; even getting off the floor himself to do it. Immediately the first
bell rang Cook went on the offensive, taking the fight to Casamonica.
Having won the first two rounds Jason continued to attack in the third but
got walloped by a right from Casamonica and found himself on the deck. The Welsh dragon
got up and was now breathing fire! During the inevitable onslaught that
followed from the champion, in his effort to finish the fight, Cook
unleashed a devastating left hook that knocked Casamonica out cold. It is widely understood that to beat an Italian in
Italy you have to knock them out; well there was no mistaking that
Casamonica was out ! The referee didn't bother to count. Jason Cook
was the new European Lightweight Champion.
ďItís like a dream; my life has changed,
it still hasnít sunk in.
That was the best punch Iíve thrown in my life, and it came when I most
needed it. Iím ecstatic; Iím walking around on a cloud. This is all like a
dream to me. Iíve changed my life
completely, and I knew I had the strength inside me to change my life
- boxing has given me the chance", said a
jubilant Jason afterward.
Jason Cook successfully defended
his European lightweight title by halting challenger Nassser Lakrib in
just 5 rounds to the delight of the home crowd spectators. In his
first defence of the crown Jason was always on top with his body
punches proving to be the downfall of the game Frenchman.
Light-hitting Lakrib just didn't possess the strength or punch needed
to keep the Welshman they call 'The Power' from launching his
continual damaging attacks to the body. The fight ended in the fifth with Lakrib pinned in a neutral
corner under a sustained 'Power' attack to head and body; finally his
brave resistance ended as he dropped to his knees prompting the ref to
step in to end the one-sided affair.
what was scheduled to be his first defence of the newly won
European title the champion weighed in 2 pounds
overweight. So as Jason Cook stepped down off the weighing scales he had lost his title. The title immediately became
vacant, which meant that challenger Stefano Zoff, an extremely seasoned
campaigner, could claim the title, should he win. If Cookie won
then the title would remain vacant.
At the opening bell it was clear
that 'The Power' was determined to show who was the boss and set about
taking charge of the fight as he typically stormed into the former WBA
world champion, throwing heavy shots to head and body in ferocious
combinations. Though never in any real trouble, Zoff spent most of the
first round attempting to stay out of harms way. The second round began much
as the first, with Cook scoring with heavy shots and forcing the fight,
then suddenly as Cook came forward he was met with a short left jab which
dropped him to one knee. More embarrassed than hurt, Cook got up at four
displaying clear annoyance at himself before literally hurtling himself
back at the Italian to regain the initiative.
In the third Jason connected
with a solid left hook followed by a forceful right which prompted Zoff to
display his defensive qualities as he rode out the storm. The infighting
was not for the faint-hearted as Cook ripped in hooks to head and body
with his opponent trying to match him but not able to keep up with Jason's
vast work rate and power of punch. Zoff resorted to holding in the
clinches which clearly annoyed the Welshman who promptly would try to
throw his opponent off and gesticulate to the referee. As the
infighting got progressively rougher - with all manner of rule violations
going on - the fifth round saw Cook being deducted a point by the referee
for allegedly butting his opponent as they both lay over the top rope
after yet another bout of furious tussling inside.
The middle rounds
belonged to Cook as he relentlessly charged down his foe scoring all the
while with big lefts and rights, but by now Stefano sensed he had seen the
Maesteg man's best work and was coming into the fight more and more. The
eighth round saw a now visibly tired Cook slowing down to a pace which was
more suited to the cagey Italian who began to land with increasing
frequency and often made Jason miss wildly which resulted in the Welshman
crashing, off balance, to the floor or into the ropes. From the ninth
round Cook was fighting on heart alone as Zoff picked him off when Jason
made sporadic charges in an attempt to prevent Stefano taking charge of
the fight. The Italian had warmed to the task in hand and was forcing
Jason backwards repeatedly while landing good, solid shots on the target
From somewhere Cookie found the strength to make Zoff think again,
in the eleventh, as he set about whipping in some really hurtful shots,
particularly to the head. The final round was contested mainly with Zoff
attacking and scoring with both hands as Cookie lay against the ropes,
bobbing and weaving, looking to land the one big shot - his famed left
hook. The pay off punch didn't land this time and the decision went to the
judges who scored the fight, 115-113 in favour of Zoff and 114-113 twice
in favour of the winner, Jason Cook. Cookie won the fight but lost his
Showing absolutely no sign of ring rust after eight
months of inactivity and more than a few setbacks, Jason Cook returned to
the ring with a superb win over experienced Howard Vincent (Guyana) in 3
rounds. Cookie then took the vacant I.B.O. lightweight title with a trademark
display of power punching before a standing room only crowd at
Bridgend Recreation Centre. The victory was sealed, in the 7th,
with a stunning left hook to leave his
opponent, Argentinian Ariel Olveira, utterly defeated.
A first defence of the
IBO title resulted in an unconvincing display with an unanimous
116-112, 115-113, 115-113 points win over Hartlepool's Kevin
'The Bulldog' Bennett to retain his IBO lightweight title. Six
months later, 'The Power' stepped into the ring, to face
Argentina's Aldo Rios.
Rios, a genuinely world
class performer who had lost only 3 fights to date - with all
his losses being in world title challenges - looked
to be in for a busy night as the first round began with Jason
unloading his characteristic left and right hooks. As the round
progressed the challenger began to assert himself with the
crisper and classier looking shots. The second began much as the
first round until Rios shook Cook with a solid right and began
to unload to easily take the round. The end came in the third
when Cook was sent to the canvas by a straight right. Although
gamely climbing off the ring apron, Cook was defenceless against
the follow up attack prompting the referee to step in and halt
With just one fight in a years, a second
round disqualification win against Gary Reid, Jason Cook
announced his retirement from the ring.
After an almost 4 year lay off, Jason Cook once again
showed his power with a successful return to the ring by stopping
Northern Ireland's, Scott Jordan in the fourth of a scheduled six
round bout at Middlesbrough. A clash of heads in the third left
Jordan with a badly cut eyebrow however, it became academic as in
the next round Cook landed the famed left hook whereby Jordan
crashed face first to the canvas; the fight was immediately called
off by the referee.
Entry into the 'Prizefighter' 3 round contest for
light-welterweights saw Jason achieve success by way of a 3 round
TKO over Michael Grant before exiting the tournament by a points
loss to fellow Welshman, and former World Champion, Gavin Rees.
A shot at the British Light-Welterweight Title
was next on the colourful Welsh fighters agenda, against London's
Lenny Daws. Daws, only beaten once in 23 fights going into
the bout was a strong favourite against the relatively inactive
Cook, who had only boxed 10 rounds competitively in the last 4
years. Sadly, Cook was foiled in his attempt to bring another title
back to Wales after the fight finished in a 12 round draw.
Nine months later (Nov. 2010) saw Cook challenge
for yet another title; this time for his old Welsh
Light-Welterweight championship against Ferndale's, Barrie Jones.
Cook's experience and superior strength saw him power to a 6th round
stoppage to once again become Champion of Wales.
2011 saw Jason claim another 6th round stoppage,
this time Mounir Guebbas being the victim and another
unsuccessful tilt at the British Light-Welterweight Title, losing by
10th round stoppage to title holder, Ashley Theophane. This was
followed by a 3 round stoppage of Laszlo Szekeres in October.
A year and a half after his last fight Cookie
came back (again) to contest a hard fought battle with the
undefeated Glenn Foot, of Sunderland. It was a step too far as Jason
was dropped in the third round, suffered a cut eye in the sixth and
after going down again in the seventh the fight was called to a
halt. Just 2 fights later, ending his career with a 3 round loss in
a Prizefighter tournament Jason Cook finally called it a day for the
Jason Cook, was certainly one of the more
colourful and entertaining fighters to watch. Always adorned in
Welsh regalia, the Maesteg fighter took the European crown in a
major upset on foreign soil; a title he never lost in the ring.
With a powerful left hook and under-rated boxing skills, the
likeable, down-to-earth Cookie was always a
major attraction on the Welsh boxing