This Saturday during the Real Steel Promotions Card at the Heartfelt Arena in Pretoria, South Africa, aging Barbadian boxer Shawn Terry Cox will perhaps get his last chance to win a world boxing title.
Cox, nicknamed The Sniper, turns 39 in December and takes on former South African champion Danie Venter for the vacant World Boxing Federation Cruiserweight title.
For Cox it will be a case of taking on a 34-year-old fighter who similar to himself had an excellent amateur career but has not fully taken the professional ranks by the proverbial storm. Venter fought in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and won bronze in the 2003 Commonwealth Games. He turned professional in 2003 and won the South African Cruiserweight title in 2006, as well as the Gauteng Heavyweight crown in 2011.
In 2012 Venter returned to Cruiserweight and defeated domestic rivals Daniel Bruwer and Zack Mwekassa, before losing to world class pugilist Thabiso Mchunu who recently made an international breakthrough by defeating Eddie Chambers in America. Venter, with a record of 17 wins (12 knockouts) and six losses, returned to form with two victories this year.
Cox, guilty of turning professional too late in life when he did so at the age of 33, also fought at the 2000 Sydney Olympics similar to Venter. As an amateur he won the silver medal at the 2006 Central American Games and was the best on show in 2002 at the Caribbean Championships.
But after turning pro in 2007 his handlers were guilty of matching him against a number of journeymen opponents where he was hardly tested by the likes of Julian Tannis, Ricardo Kellman and Guyana’s Mark Sealy. None of his first nine professional fights went past the second round. His first real test came against Italy’s Salvatore Erittu and he lost by a unanimous 12-round decision in 2009.
Cox with a record of 17 wins, inclusive of 16 knockouts, and two losses, demolished former world champion Wayne Braithwaite of Guyana in one round last year for his most impressive victory thus far. But followers of boxing would be the first to admit that Brathwaite, 38, dubbed Big Truck was a shadow of his former self and was now more of a “mini-moke” than any truck.
Cox challenged for a world title against Denis Lebedev in Russia last year but was knocked out in the second round of a one-sided contest for only his second defeat. He returned to winning ways in February when he stopped highly touted Guyanese prospect Kwesi Jones.
Before leaving Barbados earlier this month Cox was confident that he would defeat Venter and has indicated to the South African media that he would be leaving their shores as the WBF Champion.
This weekend is his date with destiny. (WG)