TRAINER Tony Borg says it is crucial Jamie Cox asserts himself if he is to be in with a chance of claiming titles this year.

The 32-year-old was due to box on Friday night, but has been ruled out of Matchroom Italy’s show with illness.

Despite the change in plan, Borg says he is hoping to see Cox back in the ring early next month, as he begins his campaign at middleweight.

Cox’s new trainer has also urged the southpaw to show more patience when he is in the ring and believes his man has all the ingredients required to be in contention at 160lbs.

“He’s got pedigree from winning gold at the Commonwealth Games, he’s got good feet and I just think he needs to learn to box his way in more,” said Borg.

“He needs to show a bit more of his quality and then take his opponents out. He doesn’t need to go steaming into everyone.

“Most of his opponents know exactly what he is going to do when he comes off of the stool. When that happens, you’re going to walk onto shots which he did with George Groves.

“It’s massively important he cracks on this year because he is in the prime of his career. He needs to have a sensible fight and then he’ll be knocking on the door for titles again.”

With illness and an ear injury putting a dent in his plans so far, Borg explained the reason behind pulling Cox from the show in Milan.

“I said to Jamie that I didn’t see the point in him going over to Italy and fighting, because he cannot afford to have a bad night,” he said.

“I don’t think there was much use in him going there and making up excuses the next day and saying that he shouldn’t have fought. I’d rather he just didn’t go.

“Friday is definitely not worth the risk and soon he’ll be back on form. Now we are looking to getting him back out in early April.

“Jamie always puts the effort in with his training apart from the illness, we put him on standby for a week twice because he was so run down from the flu.

“He’s had a lot to take on in the last few months, he’s going down in weight, he’s had the flu twice and his partner has just had a baby too.”