The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 6, 2013

Cook brothers remain unbeaten in the ring

By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer

— Mark down two more wins for the Cook brothers.

Middleweights Jesse Cook and Dillon Cook won their respective bouts during the Rumble in the Heartland on Saturday night at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Joplin. Their wins helped highlight a 10-fight card that consisted of seven boxing matches and three mixed martial arts matches in front of a capacity crowd.

The brothers from Seneca each maintained unbeaten records as professional boxers. Both are members of the Galena, Kan., boxing club.

Jesse Cook earned a majority decision (39-37, 40-36, 38-38) over Alfred Walker of Muskogee, Okla., after four rounds with no knockdowns.

Jesse improved to 7-0, but it wasn’t easy against Walker, whose background is in MMA.

“It was a tough fight,” Jesse said. “It was awkward. It’s tough to fight those MMA guys. It felt more like a wrestling match. They are used to leading with their head.”

The 26-year-old from Seneca suffered multiple head butts and was cut under his left eye.

Dillon Cook improved to 4-0 with a technical knockout over Jeremy Mier of Broken Arrow, Okla. The referee stopped the fight 1:37 into the first round as Cook was unleashing a swarm of punches on Mier in the corner.

Dillon said he appreciated the crowd support.

It was nerve wracking, but it was exciting,” the 22-year-old said. “It was nice to have so many people here.”

He will go right back to the ring for a bout this Friday in Springfield.

“I’m taking it one fight at a time,” Dillon said.

Jesse Cook also will participate in the fight card Friday in Springfield.

Justin Ridgway (4-1) of Arlington, Va., got even with Will Grover (8-2) of Springfield with a technical knockout in the third round between the 200-pounders. Ridgway’s only previous professional loss was to Grover in 2011.

The main event between 160-pounders Jose Gonzalez and Aaron Derrow wasn’t finished at press time.

In the final MMA fight of the night, 2010 Joplin High School graduate Colton Cavener earned the first professional win of his career in front of a hometown crowd.

At 135 pounds, Cavener defeated Chase Epperson of Miami, Okla., by forcing him to tap out after 1:00 into the first round.

Cavener said he has been training for five years with the Joplin Brotherhood.

“It’s unexplainable,” Cavener said of winning his first fight in front of a Joplin crowd. “It’s a great feeling.”