VICTORY in the boxing ring at the Summer Rumble will be especially sweet for David Dolan.
And not just because the 32-year-old likes being at the Stadium of Light where he supports his beloved Sunderland.
The Sunderland fighter is looking to bury the memories of his appearance on the 2011 Summer Rumble and keep alive his hopes of a final title tilt.
Dolan tackles experienced Nottinghamshire heavyweight Simeon Cover this Sunday, a fight he can’t afford to lose or even struggle to win.
Twelve months ago, he was beaten 97-94 by Jon Lewis Dickinson in a make-or-break derby for the Northern Area cruiserweight belt.
And despite that, the 2002 Commonwealth Games gold medallist is back and still hungry for championship action.
“I need to win but want a good performance and hopefully a title fight will come up,” he said.
It would be fair to say Lady Luck has avoided visiting the Dolan corner.
His pro career, at first glance, looks a happy one – just four defeats in 20 appearances.
However, all four set-backs have been in championship fights – to Martin Rogan in the Prizefighter final, against Rob Norton in their British & Commonwealth cruiserweight showdown, to Terry Dunstan for the English belt and most recently, to Dickinson.
Dolan seemed to get the rough end of the stick in Birmingham against Norton, who then successfully defended his belts in Altincham, where they played out a controversial draw.
It got worse when he retired injured against Dunstan at Houghton.
Only the defeat to Dickinson has looked straight forward, though Dolan disagrees (this reporter believes referee Mark Curry got the decision spot on).
“If things had panned out differently I could have had a few titles and been looking to push on in the big league,” Dolan said.
“But it’s not the way things have worked out. I should have had the British and Commonwealth titles but I think I got some bad decisions.
“Here last year, I thought I should have nicked it against Jon Lewis but you have got to pick yourself up and go again.
“I love training, I love boxing and hopefully I am due a change of luck.”
He added: “You always want to box on the big shows especially when they are in your home town. It was great to box on the Rumble last year even though the decision didn’t go for me.
“I still don’t think I lost. It was a close fight and could have gone either way but I’ve watched it and still feel I should have got it.
“I am disappointed I didn’t get the decision but you move on and hopefully I will get a win this time.”
Fannan believes Dolan has looked a “rejuvenated” figure in the Brierton gym.
The former three-time ABA champion already has a ‘W’ under his belt in 2012 after winning every round against tough Bulgarian Tayar Mehmud at the Borough Hall in March.
“He was a tough guy,” he said. “My preparations were not ideal – I had a bad back and not sparred as much as I would have liked but I got in and got the job done.
“I do feel good and it was nice to hear Neil saying I had impressed him. But I feel good all the time in the gym and always train hard.
“I should be in good shape for this and I am looking for a good win.”