Boxing coach Neil Fannan wants Martin Ward world title fight win ‘made in Hartlepool’

Boxing press conference at The Hilton Hotel, Gateshead:  Martin Ward and coach Neil Fannan'Pic: Andy Lamb 27.03.14
Boxing press conference at The Hilton Hotel, Gateshead: Martin Ward and coach Neil Fannan'Pic: Andy Lamb 27.03.14

NEIL Fannan has won more major fights as a trainer than he won bouts as a boxer.

But one thing is missing from his Curriculum Vitae - a world champion.

With Michael Hunter, Kevin Bennett and Argie Ward, Fannan has won 11 title bouts, British, Commonwealth and European and a minor version of the World title.

However, one of the big ‘uns has eluded him.

Hunter challenged for the International Boxing Federation’s super-bantamweight title in the autumn of 2006.

Unfortunately for Hunter, Fannan and Hartlepool, the Dave Garside-managed star came up against one of the best in the business, Steve Molitor.

The Canadian Kid stopped Hunter in five rounds at the Borough Hall and then went on to defend his IBF belt five times.

“I was very disappointed when Mick didn’t win the world title,” said Fannan.

“It was the only thing I didn’t have.

“But I have a second chance now.

“I’d love to have a world champion on my CV.

“I think I’ve every title imaginable, I was over the moon when Michael and Ian Cooper won Northern Area title fights early in their careers at the Mayfair Centre.

“I was the same when Cooper won the British Masters at the Metro Radio Arena.

“I’m there again this Saturday and this time it’s for the IBF, to win this would be something else.”

It would not just be for Ward and himself - it would also be for his hometown.

“I say it all the time but I love Hartlepool, I would not want to live anywhere else,” said the 54-year-old.

“It would mean everything to me if Martin wins.

“I admit it would mean a touch more if he was born here but I’m still proud this is where he trains.

“I love Hartlepool boxers. Peter Cope and Mick Hadfield are with other trainers and in other camps but they are from the town and I’m willing them to do something.

“When I go anywhere I’m proud when people know I’m from Hartlepool and love it when they say ‘there’s been some great fighters from there’.

“For a little town like Hartlepool to have had the fighters and champions we’ve had over the years has been fantaastic

“We always seem to have someone near the top or on the way up.

“It would mean a lot to me personally but also knowing that it’s success for the town.”