DON’T write off David Dolan.
That was the message today from Neil Fannan as the clock ticks down to Dolan’s British cruiserweight championship challenge on Friday.
The 32-year-old faces Jon Lewis Dickinson at Houghton’s Rainton Meadows Arena, where his rival, from Birtley, but now living in Washington, will make the maiden defence of his title.
Fannan has coached Kevin Bennett, Michael Hunter and Argie Ward to major championship success and is adamant Dolan remains a contender, despite his almost veteran status and the champ’s slick form.
“Of course Dave has a chance,” said the trainer.
“I am not going to say ‘he’s in the shape of his life’ or anything like that because he’s always in tip-top nick.
“But when we took this fight, I’d said ‘you are going to have to sharpen up’.
“Dave’s one of the best professionals I’ve had in the gym.
“But we need a bit more urgency, he’s even laid back putting his bandages on!
“He’s taken it on board and he has sharpened up his act.
“Dave has trained well and I am happy with him.
“I think he’s got a real good chance and I am looking forward to it.
“It will come down to what Dave’s got left and having watched him in training I have seen no indication that he might not have anything.”
Dickinson has already beaten Dolan, taking a points decision when they met for the Northern Area belt in the summer of 2011.
A typically forthright Fannan had said he thought Dolan had looked a “shot” fighter.
“I am not going to now say ‘Dave was unlucky that day’ or anything like that,” said Fannan.
“Jon Lewis won and deserved to.
“I think he’d got stuck in a rut with everything and his performance suffered, his combinations seemed to fizzle out.
“But I have seen enough evidence in training that he is looking good and strong.”
Fannan will also have his Northern Area welterweight champ, Fishburn’s Gary Fox in action against hard-hitting Londoner Mark McKray.
Unbeaten Hartlepool star Peter Cope has a North-East featherweight derby against David Lake, from South Shields.
The undercard also features undefeated Easington light-welter Paul Archer, the Cobra taking on Brighton’s Kevin McAuley.
H There are still some tickets available. Contact Neil on 07891101399 for more details.