Undefeated Cook to face Ulisses Jimenez on February 5 in Clarksville, Tennessee
By Loyd McIntosh
One One Six Boxing Promotions is proud to announce Michael Cook will be back in action competing in Fight Night At Austin Peay. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Cook will put his undefeated record on the line against Ulisses Jimenez at the Winfield Dunn Center on the Campus of Austin Peay University on Saturday, February 5.
Ranked 58the among middleweights in the United States with a record of 19 wins - 11 by knockout - zero losses, and one draw, Cook looks to notch his first win since a first-round knockout of Ernesto Berrospe in Pell City, Alabama in December 2021. The 34-year-old is a hard puncher with a propensity to end fights early - six of his 11 knockouts have come in the first round. The first boxer signed to One One Six Boxing upon its founding in 2019, Cook is a crowd favorite and is poised to collect his 20th victory next month in Clarksville, Tennessee.
“Michael is the definition of a professional, from the way he prepares for an upcoming bout to the way he carries himself in his daily life,” says Brandi McCain, owner/operator of One One Six Boxing. “He is a fierce competitor who does not disappoint from the moment he steps into the ring until the final bell sounds.”
“I am looking forward to fighting in front of a great crowd at Austin Peay University,” says Cook. “Brandi and the team at One One Six Boxing Promotions always puts on a show and I can’t wait to step into the ring and start 2022 off with a knockout win in my home state.”
Cook’s development one of the most dominant middleweights in the Southeast is as improbable as it is inspirational. Turning pro in 2012, Cook rattled off nine straight wins until a hand injury forced him to walk away from the ring in 2018. “I can’t say it was a hard decision because it was a forced decision,” says Cook.
Initially, Cook fought through the pain, however, the injury forced him to alter his training regimen affecting his power and his ability to get the knockout. Unable to compete to his high standards, Cook decided to retire.
“I broke my hand and my next two fights were decisions. My shots just didn't have the same pop that they had before, because I wasn't able to fight and train at the highest level,” Cook says. “If I couldn't do things the way I've been doing them and couldn't fight at the best of my ability, then I needed to step away.
“I was still winning and outboxing guys skill for skill, but I just wasn't able to perform the way I wanted to. I was winning these clear-cut decisions over guys I know I should knock out and just didn't feel right,” adds Cook. “It's like somebody put you on a speedway and then said 'now don't go over 40 miles per hour.’ It's like ‘what am I here for?’"
Cook initially retired following a unanimous decision victory over Philip Lars in June 2018 in Tunica, Mississippi. During his three years away from professional boxing, Cook threw himself coaching and mentoring a cadre of young amateur boxers in his native Memphis. He opened a gym and coached two Golden Gloves champions, but has also dedicated himself to being a positive adult role model to the young men he works with every day.
“I learned more about myself during that time than I did ever before because I spent so much time trying to teach the small details of boxing to younger guys,” explains Cook.
“I wanted to teach kids things that I felt like got neglected when I was younger and be there for them in ways my coaches weren’t,” he adds. “For instance, if I found out one of the boys also plays basketball, then I’m going to tell him, ‘I’m going to come see you play on Saturday,’ and actually show up to support him. Little things like that.”
A man of faith with a heart for his community, Cook was able to focus on his spiritual life during those three years away from professional boxing. Cook admits that he had a hard time dealing with the injury-forced retirement emotionally and spiritually. However, since hooking up with new manager DeAndre Brown, also the executive director and pastor of LifeLine To Success - a church and community ministry aimed at transforming people with criminal histories into productive members of society - Cook has deepened his relationship with God and has found additional purpose in his daily life.
“When I first had to stop boxing, I’ll be honest, I was mad. I felt like I had spent the better part of 12 years devoted to boxing and it was all taken away,” admits Cook. “Over time it made me appreciate what God’s plan is for me.
“Everyone has a gift and for me it’s boxing,” says Cook. “I think you always get blessed when you’re operating in your gift and that’s what I’m trying to do. Boxing is the way for me to play God’s music.”
The Cook-Jimenez bout is the co-main event of Fight Night at Austin Peay and is scheduled for eight rounds. The main event features Ty “Short Fuse” Tomlin (12-0) in an eight-round. lightweight match up with Charlie Serrano. Doors open at 5 p.m. CST with the first bout scheduled for 6 p.m.
Fight Night At Austin Peay
February 5, 2022
Austin Peay University
Winfield Dunn Center
601 College Street
Clarksville, TN 37044
Click here to purchase tickets