NEIL Fannan’s wait for a major championship belt could be over – if Martin Ward beats Gabriel Laryea in Newcastle tonight.
The Hartlepool coach has lost his last six title fights as a trainer, a remarkable statistic given he was once the man with the midas touch.
Thanks largely to the glory run of Hartlepool fight legend Michael Hunter, Fannan triumphed in 11 of his first 15 big championship bouts.
But you have to go back to January 2007 for the last success, Argie Ward slaying Tanzania’s Francis Miyeyusho inside two rounds for the vacant Commonwealth super-bantamweight belt.
Lady Luck seems to have given his corner a wide berth on a couple of occasions, notably in David Dolan’s two Titanic cruiserweight tussles with Rob Norton.
Dolan twice had the rough end of the stick from the judges, but on the other four occasions there could be no real complaints as Hunter, Dolan, Argie Ward and Martin Ward (no relation) have been beaten.
“I’ve felt a few times over the last four years that our luck has been out,” said the Hartlepool trainer.
“Dave Dolan should have been British champion, he had one really bad decision.
“I don’t think I’m being wrong If I said I don’t believe the cards have fallen for us sometimes.
“But we are getting the opportunities, the shots at championships so we are doing something right.
“We are getting in the position to win titles, it has not happened but hopefully this time it will.
“I got three champions in quick succession, Michael Hunter, Kevin Bennett and Argie Ward,
“It’s been hard to get British, Commonwealth, European champions but I’ve never given up hope of winning more titles.”
Fannan could retire now and his career has been exceptional, especially give the careers of Hunter and Bennett who won belts and challenged for versions of world titles.
But his drive has never wavered, nor the Brierton gym’s unrelenting work ethic.
“My men probably train harder than ever if that’s possible,” he said.
“Each time there has been a defeat it leaves a bitter taste and we get back to work.
“It will be a nice time to win it and we’ll have a couple of weeks off and then get back in the gym again.”
l FOR ticket info, call Neil on 07891 101399.