Hartlepool’s iconic Borough Hall is to stage European Championship boxing again.
The atmospheric Headland auditorium will be the venue for Martin Ward’s challenge for Abigail Medina’s super bantamweight title on Friday, July 21.
Going to the Borough Hall is always a special night for me, particularly given the huge nature of the fightNEIL FANNAN
Ward’s manager, Dave Garside, and coach Neil Fannan, are thrilled to have brought the fight to their hometown and to a location where they once were kings of the European 8st 10lb crown.
The duo were winners on three occasions at the Borough Hall with the town’s most successful boxer, Michael Hunter, from 2005-06.
“There is not a place anywhere that comes close to matching this,” said Fannan. “The atmosphere, the noise, everything about it is perfect.
“When we won the purse bids there was only one place we wanted the fight - the Borough Hall.”
Team Ward are a force on the move after Martin’s brother and fellow Fannan/Garside fighter, Tommy, won the British super-bantamweight title seven days ago in Leeds.
While the First Direct Arena is hardly the end of the earth, Fannan admits a home show has really got his juices flowing.
“I enjoyed last week, of course I did,” said the 56-year-old who clocked up three stoppage wins at the Borough Hall in his own career
“But this is Hartlepool.
“Everyone who knows me knows I love Hartlepool.
“Going to the Borough Hall is always a special night for me, particularly given the huge nature of the fight.
“I know Dave feels the same.”
Fannan guided Hunter to an incredible win over Esham Pickering in October 2005, when the Hartlepool star climbed off the canvas twice in the first two rounds to clinch victory on the British, Commonwealth and European unification clash.
Hunter defended his Euro belt twice there with stoppage success against Kazakhstan’s Yersin Jailauov and German Guartos, from Spain.
“They were great nights,” said Fannan, who is confident the gym will soon possess the British and European belts again.
“It would be fantastic.
“Medina is a very good opponent so we know it’s going to be a challenge.
“But Martin is good himself, so it’s a challenge we are looking forward to.”
It looks a cracking match.
Medina, from Barcelona, has lost only three times in 22 bouts, the 28-year-old winning eight times inside the distance.
Martin, one year his senior, has 25 wins and a draw on his 29-fight record.
Hartlepool lightweight prospect Peter Cope will be the chief support act.
The recently-turned 26-year-old lost last time out in his TV debut in London where he was edged out ion a close points decision by unbeaten Irishman, Paul Hyland Jnr.
However, Cope showed what he can do with Fannan saying: “We are looking for a high-profile fight for Peter.”