Knocked down not back – Cooney happy to continue step-up policy

Marian Marius Istrate [3(0)-9(0)] gave John Cooney [4(1)-0] a scare but didn’t frighten him enough to persuade him against stepping up again in Belgium later this month.

The Romanian threatened to put the breaks on the Galway-based Dublin-trained fighter’s fast track policy when he sent Cooney to the canvas in the first round of their Guardamar Arena, hosted clash.

The Conor Slater-managed fighter had to get to his feet and battle back to maintain his unbeaten.

However, he hasn’t been put off by having to things the hard way in his first six rounder and his fourth fight in just six months.

The southpaw is now looking forward to another another test in just over two weeks time.

Cooney joins Tony Browne, Tiernan Bradley, Paddy Nevin, Ryan O’Rourke and Keane McMahon on a Belgium June 19 card and takes on Angelo Turco, a game local who lost by split decision to Niall O’Connor.

“He was by far the toughest fighter I have faced so far. He was tough and awkward it was a good step up for me, one I came through. I want to keep stepping up like that,” he told

“I have a little bruise nothing major I will be back out in Belgium and looking forward to another tough fight.”

Very much like O’Rourke’s Gym stablemate Tony Browne, who also had a tougher than expected fight on the night, Cooney took a half glass full attitude to the fight.

Rather than think of any questions raised by the first round he was happy to focus on the answers he produced in the test.

“It was a tough fight but a good learning one in which I overcame adversity and did what I had to do. Not a lot went through my mind when I was put down. I was just like ‘shit okay you have to come back now. I wasn’t hurt it was more a flash knockdown. I was up as quick as I went down.

“I’ve always known I had the fight inside me to come back from something like that, so I’m not surprised I passed the gut test. I’m sure I will pass many more if I have to,” he adds before revealing he was fortunate his first trip to the canvas came during his first six-round fight.

“I would have been in real trouble had it been a four rounder.”

Jonny Stapleton contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: