The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

August 2, 2013

Tonight's fight a 'cool start' for Seneca's Dillon Cook

Dillon Cook hopes this is just the beginning.

The 22-year-old Seneca High School graduate will be part of the nontelevised portion of the ESPN Friday Night Fights boxing card tonight at Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Okla.

“It’s a cool start,” Cook said. “I always watch these fights on TV, so it’s cool to actually be here and fight on the undercard. Hopefully, one day I will be one of those main events that make it on the TV part.”

Cook (5-0, 3 KOs) will take on Joel Vargas (4-8-1, 4 KOs) in a six-round junior middleweight bout as part of the seven-fight card. It is expected to be the final fight of the night after the televised portion of the card from 8-10 p.m. The fights on ESPN2 will include co-main events Javier Fortuna (22-0, 16 KOs) against Luis Franco (11-1, 7 KOs) in a featherweight bout and Kermit Cintron (33-5, 28 KOs) facing Jonathan Batista (14-1, 7 KOs) in the welterweight division. Both of the co-main events are set for 10 rounds.

Trainer Dallas Cook said tonight’s appearance will help bring exposure to his sons Dillon and Jesse Cook, who is 7-0 with six knockouts. The Cook brothers both won multiple Gold Glove titles as amateurs and have had strong starts to their professional careers.

“The biggest thing is that I hope we can impress enough people in this area to put him and his brother both on upcoming cards,” Dallas Cook said. “There’s no doubt in my mind we’re going to draw a good local crowd. Hopefully that will get us on these cards more often and give them more exposure with the bigger name fighters and bigger venues.”

First, Dillon Cook looks to get past Vargas, who may be better than his record appears. Seven of the boxers who defeated Vargas entered the fight with no more than one loss.

“He’s 4-8, but his record doesn’t really tell a lot,” Dallas Cook said. “If you look at his losses you see that they are pretty much against guys who are undefeated. So records don’t really tell you a lot until you see who they fought.”

The 5-foot-7, 159-pound Vargas can be a power puncher. All four of his wins have been knockouts.

“I can go the distance or I can go one-on-one brawling,” Vargas said through a translator. “Whatever it takes.

“He’s a fast fighter, but he doesn’t have a lot of punch. He doesn’t have a lot of power. That’s what I’m going to go by to get the knockout.”

Dillon Cook, who weighed in at 157.2 pounds on Thursday, said he believes he matches up well with Vargas.

“He’s a shorter guy,” Cook said. “He comes at you. He’s kind of a power puncher. I got the speed on him. I usually like fighting the shorter guys. I’m more of a boxer. I can move, so it fits my style.”

This will be Cook’s first six-round fight as all of his previous five bouts were set to go four rounds. He’s been sparring with fighters in Arkansas and Tulsa as part of his preparation.

“We just had to up our rounds in sparring,” Dillon Cook said. “Get more rounds and a little more miles on the running. Basically, I’ve been doing everything the same, but just more of it.”

A win would be another step toward helping Cook fulfill his dream of making boxing a full-time job.

“Hopefully the right people will notice me and get me on future cards,” he said. “It will get my name out there a little more.”

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