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Dolan is still waiting for skills reward.

Byline: Stuart Rayner

ONE of boxing's favourite mantras is 'Skills pay bills,' but Sunderland cruiserweight David Dolan is waiting for his talent to be rewarded. The 31-year-old (pictured below) is widely regarded as one of Britain's best and in constant demand for sparring but four years after turning pro, all he has to show for it is a succession of sob stories.

At times Dolan must feel like he has broken a mirror sidestepping a black cat while walking under a ladder. Twice he has fought Rob Norton for the British title in the last two years, twice he has left the ring feeling cheated. The first time he was harshly out-pointed, the second Norton clung onto his belt with what many viewed as an undeserved draw.

Having fought his way into the British title picture, Dolan is back on the outside. Victory over Terry Dunstan in December 12's English title fight at Rainton Meadows Arena offers another shot at the belt Dolan believes should already be adorning his waist. Neil Fannan, one of the North East's most respected coaches, is charged with guiding the 2002 Commonwealth Games gold medalist to the next level but the missing ingredient could come from a very different source.

If Fannan can pass on the knowledge built up over a lifetime in the sport, Frankie Dolan offers little more than sleep depravation, crying, vomiting and other even less pleasant bodily functions. Nevertheless, David's first-born has little boy about nine-and-a-half weeks ago so I've had a few sleepless nights but it's great," says the new father. "It gives me something else to fight for.

"Everyone who's had a kid knows it's a fantastic experience. He's my first one and he's brilliant. I love him to bits.

"I'm getting used to disturbed sleep, getting woken up two or three times a night. He might have to go to his nana's so I can get a good night's sleep the night before the fight and I'm not too tired in the ring.

"It'll be nice to get this fight out of the way so I can relax a bit. I've been in training really since he's been born.

"It's very hard when through no fault of your own you're getting kicked down to keep coming back but hopefully it's going to make me a better and more determined fighter. What do you do? You can pack the sport in, which you feel like doing after decisions like that, but I really do want to become a champion and I've given a lot of my life to boxing.

"I think I'm one of the best cruiserweights in the country and I've just been a little bit unlucky. Hopefully this is going to be my first title and a pathway back to the British (title)."

Not that there was never any danger of Dolan going into the Sunday afternoon fight half-hearted. At his age and after the Norton setbacks, he needs a 15th professional win.

"I'd been at the top of the amateur game for a lot of years then you sort of have to learn your trade again in a way because it is a completely different sport to amateur boxing," he reflects. "I've been unlucky with title fights, but I really need to get a belt so I can keep going into title fights and keep stepping up the ladder to bigger and better things."

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provided the sunshine in what could otherwise have been a dark time. "I had a
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 12, 2010
Words:585
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