Hartlepool boxer Daniel Cope aims to deliver another title to coach

Daniel  Cope in training at the Neil Fannan gym ahead of his title fight. Picture by STU NORTON
Daniel Cope in training at the Neil Fannan gym ahead of his title fight. Picture by STU NORTON

Daniel Cope is looking to clinch his first boxing honour tonight and add another to the long and illustrious list of coach Neil Fannan.

Cope faces rival Tom Whitfield for the Northern Area welterweight championship at Ashington.

He’s as good a coach as anyone – look at the champions he’s trained

DANIEL COPE

It is the first fight for the 26-year-old with the vastly-experienced Fannan in his corner.

Cope shocked the local boxing community in the summer when he and younger brother, Peter, left the Gus Robinson Developments gym, where they had been trained by dad, Peter Snr.

A switch of coach and techniques is never easy, whatever standard of fighter, but a move ahead of a significant bout only adds to the degree of difficulty.

But Daniel insists there have been no hitches.

“I settled in straight away,” he told SportMail.

“He’s as good a coach as anyone – look at the champions he’s trained.

“I’m really pleased he’s taken me on.

“There have been quite a few in the North East who’ve asked Neil to train them but been turned down.

“He’s said no to so many so I’m just grateful he agreed to take me and our Peter on.

“I’m more than confident of winning this to start paying him back for what he’s done for me.”

Fannan is in double figures when it comes to major title wins, Michael Hunter, Kevin Bennett, Argie Ward and Martin Ward (no relation) have all triumphed at either British, Commonwealth or European level. In the case of Hunter, it was all three.

However, the Hartlepool trainer also has a strong record at Northern Area level, Hunter and Ian Cooper both winning that belt at Seaton Carew on the Dave Garside-promoted ‘Super Sunday’ series at the Mayfair Centre.

More recently, Gary Fox was a Northern winner when he beat Darlington’s Neil Hepper at the Borough Hall in 2012.

All three of the Fannan title wins came inside the distance but tonight’s match at Ashington Leisure Centre looks destined to go to the referee’s scorecard.

Neither combatant has an early win to his name – Cope has won five of his six contests via points, though he can boast a KO success or three from his amateur days.

Whitfield has a 100% record after four bouts, a 58-57 nod over Cope coming in his third professional appearance.

Tonight promises to be an intriguing battle – the South Shields boxer possesses a height and reach advantage, not to mention greater experience from a long amateur carer.

Cope is the younger man, bristling with aggression, with something to prove after that defeat to his North-East neighbour last year.

It looks too close to call and it looks a cracker,

The pair weighed in yesterday at the Fighting Chance gym in Felling, the HQ of tonight’s promoters, Whitfield tipping the scales at 10st 6½lbs abd Cope just a quarter of a pound lighter.

Stablemate Tommy Ward is on the undercard with a six-rounder against Hungary’s former Olympian Norbert Kalucza, while Crimdon’s Jay Hughes and Darren Surtees, from Thornley, are also in action.