DANIEL COPE admits the time for talking is over as he prepares to take on former stable-mate Billy Snaith for the Northern Area welterweight title at Hardwick Hall tomorrow.

The pair have been involved in a war of words over recent weeks, with reigning champion Cope insisting Snaith “won’t make the weight” and his challenger responding with claims of “unprofessionalism and disrespect for a champion”.

The contest promises to be one of the biggest needle matches held in the North-East for quite some years, but Cope is confident there will only be one outcome.

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“I’ve trained really hard in order to put in a great performance on the night,” said Cope, who beat Tom Whitfield to claim the Area title last year. “He (Snaith) hasn’t boxed anybody who punches back yet so I am going to show him what professional boxing is all about.

“I’m looking forward to defending my title and taking care of business. April 22 sees me move forward from Snaith as he’s getting beat and I can move on to bigger and better things.

“It will be a good fight though on what is looking like a really good show so we can’t wait for it.”

Snaith has listened to Cope’s barbs over the last month or so, but has warned the champion it is time to put his money where his mouth is.

“You can say what you want, you just have to back it up in the ring,” said Snaith. “I’ve had no time out since my last fight and I’m meant to be the underdog but look at how he fought in his last fight, he even sleeps in his sweat suit.

“I’m enjoying my boxing again and there’ll be no excuses from me on fight night where he’ll find some. He’s a fool and he’s getting knocked out cold.”

The main support comes from Fishburn’s Jeff Saunders, who will oppose Chris Truman over eight rounds.

“Although it’s only eight rounds, it’s still a big fight for me and in my own back yard,” said Saunders. “He (Truman) has some leeway on me and certainly knows his way round a ring as well as having faced some good fighters. However, I’ve a job to do and that’s all I’m focused on.”

The undercard also consists of fights involving Kyle Redfearn, Neil Hepper, Jordan King, Anthony Hardy and Scotland’s Jay McFarlane.

Ahead of the professional show, South Durham ABC will host their home amateur show, with James Archer headlining as he steps up to 63kg after previously campaigning at 60kg.

There will be 14 amateur contests, starting at 1pm, with featured clubs including Perth Green, Houghton, Horden, Bilton Hall and Dunston.

“This is an exciting day for boxing in the region,” said Jeff Saunders Snr. “I’m looking forward to not only the amateur show on the afternoon but, a few hours later, putting my lads out on the pro show as well. It’s going to be a full day of boxing for everyone.”

As well as Archer, South Durham ABC fighters will also include Dominic and Finlay Ross, Tom and John McKenna, Jake Bradley, Niall Howle, Charlie Austic, Nicky Sing and Tom Heilbron.

The amateur show is scheduled to take place from 1-5pm, with the first professional fight scheduled for 7pm.