Coach hopes Martin Ward v Jazza Dickens British boxing title fight will happen

Martin Ward with trainer Neil Fannan. Picture by KEVIN BRADY
Martin Ward with trainer Neil Fannan. Picture by KEVIN BRADY

Neil Fannan admits he is counting down the days to Martin Ward’s challenge for the British super-bantamweigh title.

But the coach admits he’ll only be happy when he sees defending champ Jazza Dickens in the opposite corner at the Rainton Meadows Arena.

I will be happy when the contracts are sorted and even happier when I see Jazza gloved up in the opposite corner

NEIL FANNAN

Promoter Phil Jeffries, in association with Fannan, this week won the purse bids for Dickens v Ward, with the event set for the Houghton venue on Friday, November 20.

But the trainer, who has guided the talented southpaw to a record of 21 wins and a draw from 24 contests, says it may be a case of seeing is believing.

“I will be a lot happier when I know all the contracts are signed and in the British Boxing Board of Control’s safe,” said Fannan.

“I’m over the moon we won the purse bid and the fight will be at Rainton Meadows Arena.

“I’m not saying I’m suspicious, sceptical might be a better word.

“I will be happy when the contracts are sorted and even happier when I see Jazza gloved up in the opposite corner.

“The reason I’m sceptical is that Jazza is the mandatory challenger to Gav McDonnell’s European title.

“His British championship defence against Martin would come first, so if he fought and lost up here then his European chance goes out of the window.

“Him and his people know that a European title win gets you on the world scene.

“So is the champ going to turn up in Martin’s backyard for not a great payday? We haven’t got TV coverage so the money is not massive.

“Thinking of those factors unnerves me a little.

“But Martin is the mandatory British title challenger, Jazza would have to turn up or give it up.

“We’ll just have to wait for the contracts to get signed then we can start to get excited.”

Fannan is as ambitious as his boxers, so it’s a fair bet he is excited at the prospect.

He is preparing already for the fight and is planning a six-round warm-up for the former Commonwealth bantamweight king on September 19.

Jeffries is staging an already sold-out show at Dunston that evening, an event headlined by the Sunderland derby between Glenn Foot and Kirk Goodings and featuring Hartlepool prospect Daniel Cope.

“Martin was supposed to have boxed on the Summer Rumble last month,” said Fannan.“But his English title and British eliminator fell through and there was then a problem over the overseas opponents we had lined up.

“There are no problems over his fitness, he’s been training as hard as always, he loves training and you can’t say that about all boxers.

“But we’ll look to get him a fight in Dunston as a warm-up for November.”

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