Fishburn and Hartlepool boxer Gary Fox out to beat Sunderland’s Kirk Goodings for English title

READY TO GRUMBLE: Sunderland boxer Kirk Goodings left, faces up to Gary Fox at the weigh in at the Metro Centre ahead of his defence of his English lightweight title.
READY TO GRUMBLE: Sunderland boxer Kirk Goodings left, faces up to Gary Fox at the weigh in at the Metro Centre ahead of his defence of his English lightweight title.
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MARTIN Ward is not the only outsider hoping that every underdog can have his day.

His Neil Fannan team-mate, Gary Fox, is planning on getting the championship ball for the Hartlepool camp rolling at the Metro Radio Arena.

Fox will challenge Kirk Goodings for the Sunderland lightweight’s English title.

Goodings is the favourite, not an overwhelming one, but the fancied man.

And, unlike Ward v Hall, where the champion is the fighter and the challenger the boxer, Fox is happy to take the role as scrapper against the slicker Goodings.

Fox intends to “get stuck in” and has vowed to give Goodings the “hiding of his life.”

The 28-year-old, from Fishburn, even landed the first blow before timekeeper Stewart Lithgo even got to the venue, never mind rang the first bell.

Fox did something of an “Alan Pardew” as he leant forward with his head at the traditional pre-fight photograph, following the weigh-in at the Metro Centre.

Promoter Dennis Hobson quickly intervened before it could escalate – but it was evidence, if any was needed, that the former South Durham ABC crowd-pleaser plans an aggressive approach.

The Northern Area champion is confident, very confident, and puts that down to his greater dedication and determination to a career which has brought him 11 wins and just two defeats.

Certainly, Fox has come on the proverbial ton since his rough and ready early days.

“I’m a totally different fighter to what I used to be,” he told SportMail. “I didn’t lead the proper lifestyle, but I do now.

“I’d train hard for a fight, box and then I’d eat bad and drink too much.

“Now, I live like an athlete – I feel super-fit and super-human.

“Before I’d fight in little bursts and then need to stand still and have a rest because I was not in the condition I should have been.

“Not now – I can go to war for 10 rounds against Kirk and I will do that.

“I’m stronger than I’ve ever been and I’m now a better fighter.

“I feel this is my time.”

Fox’s confidence has grown, partly thanks to his sparring sessions with John Murray.

The Manchester boxer is good, very good in fact, and is a former WBA world title challenger.

“It’s all falling into place for me,” Fox said. “The sparring with John went very well.

“John is really sharp and a lot sharper than Kirk.

“The styles are very similar although John is a bit better than Kirk.

“I more than held my own in sparring so I’m really, really confident.”

The records of the fighters are incredibly similar – Goodings has won 10 and lost two and has boxed 61 rounds in his career, three more than Fox. Both have had two stoppage wins.

Goodings is justified as favourite on the evidence of his commanding points win over Paul Truscott.

The 24-year-old was quick and deadly accurate – he hardly missed once against the brave, but outclassed, Boro lad.

Fox will have a bit more life than Truscott and he will need to bully Goodings out of his stride. It could be some fight and Gary cannot be written off.