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Boxing: PADDY ANGER AT ELCOCK JIBE.

Byline: By IAN CLARKSON

WAYNE Elcock's trainer has blasted Rob McCracken after claims his man is running scared of Howard Eastman.

The Brummie middleweight was nominated mandatory challenger for Eastman's British title last week but McCracken claimed Elcock "didn't appear interested in the fight" against the Battersea Bomber.

Eastman successfully added the Commonwealth title to his collection of belts at Dudley Town Hall on Friday night with a gritty victory over Evans Ashira after McCracken claimed that "it is difficult to defend his British title as no-one will fight him".

However, McCracken, who now trains Eastman as part of Mick Hennessy's stable, has left his former trainer and Elcock's current guru Paddy Lynch fuming.

Elcock is set to face Eastman before September for the British title and Lynch - who has worked with the likes of McCracken, Pat Cowdell, Matthew Macklin and Don Broadhurst - insists Elcock is no coward.

"Wayne will fight Eastman any time, any place and anywhere as there is no yellow streak on him," roared Lynch.

"We were made a derisory offer about six weeks ago, which wasn't half as good as Wayne received fighting Scott Dann for the British title last time.

"That isn't boxing - that is prostitution. Any fool can fight for nothing and as he was only made mandatory challenger last week I don't see how he can be avoiding him just three days later.

"I would have expected more from Robert as I have never read such a load of old cobblers. I know for a fact that he wouldn't have fought for nothing and I was in the corner when he fought Eastman for the European title back in 2001.

"If Wayne got the same money as Robert got for that fight then he would fight Howard Eastman tomorrow.

"Wayne is a proud kid and comments like that just aren't fair."

Lynch, however, has the utmost respect for Eastman's abilities in the ring.

He went 12 rounds with Bernard Hopkins for the WBC World title and has won a glittering array of belts during his 46-fight career.

But Lynch is convinced Elcock can spring a major surprise and become the first domestic fighter to beat Eastman "I'm very fond of Howard and I can remember when he used to come to our gym to spar with Robert," added Lynch.

"He is a world-class fighter and I have nothing but respect for him as I know exactly what he is capable of.

"He is the best middleweight in Europe but Wayne has got the opportunity to beat him.

"However, they've got to make a reasonable offer and respect the value of the fight."

Meanwhile West Bromwich's Dean Hickman suffered a major setback when he was stopped in five rounds by Gary Reid at Dudley.

Hickman took a series of eight counts after sickening body shots from Reid left him crumpled in a heap and the Stoke light welterweight lifted the Midlands Area title.

The defeat puts serious doubts against Hickman's credentials to compete at British title level.

CAPTION(S):

BLAST: Wayne Elcock
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Apr 22, 2007
Words:508
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