DAVID Dolan has given blood, sweat and tears in his bid for boxing glory.
But there is one thing missing in his career – a British title.
And he has the chance to end that wait in Houghton tonight against Wearside neighbour Jon Lewis Dickinson.
Sunderland fighter Dolan makes his third – and in all probability – final challenge at getting a Lonsdale Belt fastened around his waist.
He takes on an in-form Dickinson, who is making the maiden defence of his cruiserweight crown.
The champion, from Birtley but now living in Washington, starts as a very short-priced favourite at the Rainton Meadows Arena.
But Dolan vows to give it everything as he looks to add the British title to his Commonwealth Games gold medal and three ABA triumphs. “It would be fantastic if I could do it,” he told the Echo.
“It would just top everything off.
“I have won things all the way through my career as an amateur, but getting a pro one seems to have eluded me.
“I thought I was unlucky in my first fight (against Rob Norton) and was robbed in the re-match when it was a draw.
“Hopefully, tonight’s going to be my night and eventually get my hands on that belt.
“You can never predict what will happen, but I am in good shape and I know I can win it. It’s about performing on the night.”
Dolan has already lost one title tussle with Dickinson, who won their Northern Area title confrontation at the Stadium of Light in the summer of 2011.
Dickinson has stepped up a level since then, stopping Dolan’s Neil Fannan stablemate Chris Burton in Aberdeen before winning the title in Liverpool against Shane McPhilbin.
Dolan was not beaten heavily, though Dickinson had the edge, certainly landing the sharper shots.
Having tried the boxing approach, has the 33-year-old altered his tactics for the return?
He, obviously, was giving little away just hours before going into battle, but said: “Me and Neil have been working on some things in training.
“I will try to follow instructions and go with the plan we’ve got.
“But when you are in the ring you have just got to adjust to whatever happens.
“We’ll just have to see how the fight goes.
“I watched our fight again last night and I thought there was nothing in it.
“My work-rate was high and, while he landed some eye-catching shots, I got a lot of good right hands in. I think there will be a good pace again, it’s going to come down to who’s the best on the night.
“Hopefully I will bring my A-game, and, if I do that, I believe I can be the champion.”
The duo weighed in yesterday at Rainton Meadows Arena, Dolan bang on the cruiserweight limit of 14st 4lb, Dickinson one and a half pounds lighter.
The pair posed for the traditional pictures but, just the same as the whole build -up, there were no wrong words exchanged.
“Nothing bad has been said,” Dolan explained. “I don’t know Jon that well, but he seems a really nice lad.
“I have nothing bad to say about him.
“He’s a fantastic boxer, he has been through all his career, and I’ve watched him from his amateur days. There was nothing in it the last time we fought and I think it will be a good bout tonight.”
Some tickets will be available at the door. Doors open at 6pm, with the first fight at 7pm.