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Local boxer seeking sponsors to compete in national championship

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MASSENA - With a victory over Nicole Russell of New York City, Massena’s Michelle Cook earned a berth in the USA Boxing National Championship Tournament to be held in Spokane, Wash., next month.

“I was confident going into it,” Ms. Cook said.

She said it didn’t take her long to realize she had a chance at winning USA Boxing’s Northeast Regional in Lake Placid last weekend.

“As soon as I felt her punch, I knew I could win,” she said.

Describing the bout, which can be seen on Youtube and consisted of four, two minute rounds, her trainer and fiance Atsiaktonkie, a.k.a. Doogie, said, “The first round was close, but in the second round Michelle dominated her, and in the third round Michelle really dominated her.”

Ms. Cook who won by unanimous decision and was also named the tournament’s most outstanding fighter.

“She won that over 13 other champions,” Doogie said. There was only one outstanding boxer plaque awarded among all the weight classes and divisions.

Doogie said it’s his hope that those awards - when added to her already impressive résumé - give Ms. Cook said credibility, as now the hunt is on for sponsors to help pay for their trip to Spokane.

“We need to come up with money for everything. We need plane tickets, lodging and living expenses,” he said.

He estimated the cost of the trip to be between $3,500 and $4,000.

In exchange for sponsorship, Ms. Cook will wear a sponsor’s logo on her clothing and perhaps equipment.

“She would be a walking advertisement,” Doogie said.

Anyone interested in sponsoring Ms. Cook can contact the boxing club at 769-2552.

In addition to her honors last week, Ms. Cook is a two-time New York State Champion, 2012 New York State Fair Tournament Champion and 2012 Adirondack Region Champion.

Ms. Cook also was named most outstanding boxer at the 2012 Carmen Basilio Quest For Champions in Watertown, while also picking up a victory over the two-time Ringside Magazine National Champion and two victories over the five-time Canadian National Champion.

Ms. Cook, who has only been boxing for approximately two years, said when she got started in the sport she never envisioned things would take off this quickly,

“I was into drugs and all that stuff, but boxing has really helped turn my life around,” she said. “Now I’m a positive influence and have all these girls (there’s roughly a dozen other girls who train at the club) looking up to me. It feels good.”

Doogie said that Ms. Cook, who is the mother of Konwanihara, their 15-month old daughter, is a tremendous fighter and totally different person outside the ring than she is inside the ropes.

“You would never know she’s a boxer outside the ring,” he said. “But inside the ring she’s a monster. She’s fun to watch. She’s one of the most entertaining fighters I’ve seen since Sugar Ray Leonard. I think Michelle can be the draw that women’s boxing has been looking for.”

The tournament will be held from March 30 through April 6.

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