Jesse Cook has been in this position before.
For the second-straight summer, Cook is resuming his professional boxing career after a significant layoff from in-ring competition.
A Seneca native nicknamed “Left Hook,” Cook will fight Jarvis “The Jackal” Williams Saturday night in a six-round middleweight co-main event of ‘Rumble in the Heartland’ at Oasis Hotel and Convention Center in Springfield.
“I’m excited as always,” Cook said. “I’m looking forward to getting back in there and I hope to put on a good show for the fans. I hope we have a good turnout.”
The 154-pound Cook (18-1-1, 13 KOs) hasn’t fought since June 23 of last year, when he earned a knockout victory over Brandon Baue at Kansas Crossing Casino in Pittsburg, Kansas.
“Last time it was two years off,” Cook noted. “This time’s a little better. Last summer we were bouncing around from gym to gym. This time, we’ve got our own gym back going strong. And I was able to get some sparring in up in Kansas City and I’ve been working on getting my punch count up. I had to plenty of time to train for this fight, so I feel prepared.”
Cook has been training with his father Dallas Cook at Heartland Boxing Gym in Galena, Kansas.
“Jesse’s been working real hard to get ready for this fight,” Dallas Cook said recently.
Cook, 32, has been fighting professionally since 2011 and he became a local fan favorite with the Four State Franchise at Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma, where he fought 11 times from 2014-16.
A St. Louis native, Williams is 8-2 with five wins via knockout in his pro career. He’s suffered losses in his last two outings, including a setback by majority decision to Drew Hartman (10-0) last October in St. Joseph.
“I know he’s shorter than me, so I’ll have the reach on him,” Cook said. “I hope to control the pace of the fight.”
Saturday night’s co-main event will feature Springfield native Justin “Too Smooth” Ridgway (8-2) vs. Kent Holland (4-4-1) of Hannibal in a cruiserweight clash.
Another of Dallas Cook’s boxers will be on the card in Ethan Cooper (3-0-1). Fighting out of Neosho, Cooper will meet Springfield native Tyler Ross (0-0) in a 175-pound scrap.
In other action, Shannen McCray (1-4) meets Eric Willoughby (0-3) in super-lightweight action, Juan Hollingsworth (1-0) takes on Cesar Marquez (0-0-1) in a cruiserweight bout, Jake Robinson (0-0-1) faces Alexander Hernandez (0-0) in a lightweight scrap and Drake Heitfield (1-6-2) meets Luis Galaviz (0-0) in a welterweight bout.
The event is being promoted by Skip Stewart. Fans can purchase tickets before the show this evening at the venue, which is located at 2546 N. Glenstone in Springfield. Doors open at 6, with the fights scheduled to begin at 7.