DAVID Dolan gets the chance to make it third-time lucky and lift the coveted British title.
The Sunderland boxer is to face Jon Lewis Dickinson for his North-East rival’s cruiserweight belt at Houghton-le-Spring on Friday, February 15.
Dolan has tried, and failed, to win the British championship on two occasions already.
He suffered a points defeat to Rob Norton in their thrilling British and Commonwealth title showdown in Birmingham in February 2009.
And the Dave Garside and Neil Fannan fighter endured more heartache 11 months later in a re-match in Manchester, where Norton retained his belts thanks to a controversial draw.
Three years on and Dolan, now 33, will get his third and final opportunity.
Dickinson will be making a voluntary defence of his crown, which will be promoted by Frank Maloney and Phil Jeffries and broadcast by satellite station, Loaded TV.
Fannan said: “It’s been in the pipeline for a few weeks now, but we’ve been waiting for approval from the British Boxing Board of Control.
“We’ve got that now, so it’s all systems go.
“I firmly believe Dave deserves his chance.
“Some might think it has come too late for him, but if you saw him in the gym and out running you would think differently.
“I’m not trying to make out that that he is the only challenger with the bit between his teeth.
“But he really looks up for it and determined to give what will be his last opportunity absolutely everything.
“I felt disappointed after the last time he fought Norton because the Board said there were no worthy challengers.
“I thought ‘surely the man who had a draw, and a controversial one at that, deserves another go’ but it never happened.
“Dave has been an absolute model pro, in and out of the ring, and I believe they [the Board] owed him this.
“I still think he has enough left in the tank to give any top cruiser a go and I’m looking forward to February 15.”
Dickinson will start as a very short-priced favourite having previously beaten Dolan for the Northern Area title on the 2011 Summer Rumble.
For the Newcastle United fan, the 97-94 scoreline at the Stadium of Light against Sunderland supporter Dolan was a sweet one.
And Fannan admits Dickinson is now even better.
“I don’t kid myself at all on that score,” said Fannan.
“I’ve watched Jon Lewis, I like him and I’ve seen he’s improved.
“He was a worthy winner the Sunday they fought on the Summer Rumble.
“But I maintain Dave deserves his chance and I know he will give it his all.”
Wearside fight figure Jeffries said he was thrilled the BBBC had rubber-stamped the derby.
“I am over the moon to be putting on Dickinson against Dolan,” Jeffries said.
“Tickets will be going on sale next week and I think fans will have to move quickly to get them.”