Arthur “The Whooping Crane” Cook Ready to Whoop Some Butt

By Jorge Antonio Vallejos - Friday March 20, 2009 will mark the first time a Native American fights for a major North American title—the Canadian Heavyweight Championship. Arthur “The Whooping Crane” Cook (14-4-2, 5 KOs), an Oji-Cree fighter hailing from Peguis First Nation Reserve, Manitoba, Canada, will face off against undefeated Canadian Heavyweight Champion Greg “The Steel Pole” Kielsa (8-0-0, 3 KOs) at “Rumble at Rama 7”, Casino Rama, Rama, Ontario, Canada..

“To be the first Native Heavyweight Champion from Canada means a lot to me,” says Cook.

Cook started to box at the age of ten under unconventional conditions; without a proper gym to train in on his reserve, Cook was forced to train in a space no bigger than a washroom. Such training prepared Cook to rise to adversity in many ring encounters as well as help him when fighting in close quarters.

“I’m gonna break him down, bang that body,” says Cook of Canadian Heavyweight Champion Greg Kielsa.

Cook turned pro in January of 2000 after a solid amateur career that saw him win the Canadian Super-Heavyweight Championship. As a pro Cook has fought in Hungary, Kazakhstan, Dubai, USA, and Canada and won the WBC World Youth Title. Cook now describes his main goal as becoming Canadian Heavyweight Champion.

Defeating Kielsa will be no easy task. “The Steel Pole” was four time Polish National Champion and represented Poland in the 2000 Olympics. Standing at 6’ 4”, Kielsa is a chiseled, fast, technical, southpaw who has helped Wladimir Klitschko train for recent championship defenses.

Cook has also worked with world class fighters and trainers. He helped Lennox Lewis train for his historic fight with Mike Tyson. Impressed with his fast footwork, Cook says legendary trainer Emmanuel Steward was calling him “Little Ali” by the end of training camp. Cook recently helped Valuev train for his title defense against Evander Holyfield and has worked with Michael Grant and Duncan Dokiwari.

Speaking of Kielsa, Cook says,” I believe I beat a lot of guys who are better than him. I don’t believe this kid can beat me. He doesn’t have the experience.”

Training for seven weeks, three in North Dakota, and four in Las Vegas with Australian trainer Steve Rowland, Cook describes this last camp as “great!” Waking up every morning at 6 AM to run Mount Charleston three thousand feet above sea level for an hour, sparring in the afternoon (120 rounds in total with three undefeated sparring partners), and lifting weights and doing cardio in the evening, Cook is focused on his task.

Proud of his Native American roots, Cook walks out to the ring with traditional drum music playing and traditional dancers from the nearest reserve along side him. Cook says he’s not alone in the ring. His people and his ancestors are with him.

“Rumble at Rama 7” will be held at Casino Rama on Rama First Nation Reserve, Ontario, Canada. “I love fighting in front of my people. There’s so much support and spirituality,” says Cook. “It’s a chance to show the youth that First Nations people can achieve anything they put their mind to.”

Article posted on 19.03.2009

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