GALENA, Kan. —
Some of Jesse and Dillon Cook’s earliest memories involve boxing.
The brothers from Seneca grew up watching their father, Dallas, box and train other boxers.
“I remember going to the gym as a little kid watching my dad box and stuff,” Jesse Cook said. “I was too young to fight at 6 or 7 years old. Usually at the end of practice, he’d let me get in there with some of the other kids who did fight there. It’s something I always wanted to do.”
Jesse Cook, now 26 years old, started boxing competitively when he was 8. Dillon Cook, 22, began fighting when he was 10. Both enjoyed successful Golden Glove careers and are now in the early stages as professionals.
Middleweights with potential, both are hoping they can soon take their boxing careers to the next level.
“It’d be nice for this to turn into a full-time job,” Jesse said. “Not have to work. Not have to worry about anything. I want to take it as far as I can. I mean you can’t do it forever. You’re going to get too old eventually, but it’d be nice to make some money at it and have some fun with it for a while.”
Jesse won five Gold Glove titles as an amateur and is 7-0 with six knockouts since turning professional in October 2011. Three of his knockouts have come in the first round.
“His strength is power,” said Dallas Cook, who trains and co-manages his sons with Skip Stewart at the Heartland Boxing Club in Galena. “His nickname is Jesse “Left Hook” Cook. His left hook is pretty much his bread and butter. He hits really hard. His record kind of tells you that. He’s got six knockouts out of seven. He’s a very hard puncher. He’s a middleweight and punches like a light heavyweight does. He’s got exceptional power.”
Dillon won six Gold Glove titles and a national championship as an amateur. He’s 5-0 with three knockouts since turning professional this past August. He is scheduled to be on the undercard for ESPN Friday Night Fights on Aug. 2 at Buffalo Run Casino & Resort in Miami, Okla.
Sporting the nickname “White Lightning,” Dillon’s skills don’t mirror those of his older brother.
“They’re different,” Dallas said. “They’re both trained by me, but they’re different. Jesse is a power puncher. Dillon is more of a speed guy. He’s fast and throws a lot of combinations.”
The brothers are quickly adding experience to their resumes. After Dillon’s fight at Buffalo Run on Aug. 2, Jesse and Dillon are both scheduled to fight on Aug. 10 at the Beech Activity Center in Wichita, Kan., and on Sept. 7 at the John Q. Hammons Convention Center in Joplin.
“Right now, for both of them we’re stressing some really hard sparring,” Dallas said. “Skip (Stewart) is a pilot and flew us down to Arkansas to spar against a fighter with 28 pro fights. We’re trying to find guys that are as good or better. That’s the only way you’re going to get better is to find those guys and spar with them. There aren’t a whole lot of guys with experience around here, unfortunately.
“We want to keep bringing up the level of opponents as they gain experience.”
Being able to have Jesse and Dillon spar against each other is a big plus.
“It helps to have another experienced fighter to spar with,” Dillon said. “He’s my brother, so he can tell me what I’m doing wrong and what I need to work on. It definitely helps.”
Having their dad as their trainer also can be an advantage.
“There’s a lot more trust there, having your dad as you trainer,” Jesse said. “At the same time, it’s a lot easier to butt heads than you would with somebody else. It’s good and bad in both ways.”
So far, both brothers have scheduled only four-round bouts. They are planning on eventually scheduling fights for six and eight rounds.
While they are taking things slowly, Dallas said he believes both sons have the potential to make names for themselves in the boxing world.
“The possibilities are there,” he said. “It’s just knowing the right people and getting the right people to see one of their fights.”