By Terence Dooley
Manchester’s Bob Shannon knows a thing or two about training heavyweights. The popular coach has reached out to BoxingScene to send Liverpudlian heavyweight David Price a few words of advice following Price’s back-to-back stoppage defeats to America’s Tony Thompson, TKO in two and five in February and July respectively, and his decision to part company with former trainer Franny Smith. Shannon has worked with Mike Holden, who won the British heavyweight title by out-pointing Julius Francis in 2000, and Michael Murray, a former journeyman who took on all-comers during his long career, and he believes that the psychological part of the game is just as important as the physical aspect, especially when it comes to the big men.
"David Price met a class operator in Thompson," said Shannon. "Those defeats don’t have to mean the end for him. Defeats can be physically and mentally tough for fighters, especially that first defeat, but Price is still worth a gamble because of his physicality and ability. If David wants to, he can come and talk to me anytime, even if it’s just to ask for advice. All he needs to do is concentrate on rebuilding, getting his situation settled and moving forward."
When asked if he was offering his services as a trainer, Shannon thought for a moment and replied: "It’s not up to me or anyone else to tell David what we think he should do or where he should go. He has the key to his own potential, and the tools are there, so he just needs to make sure that his next move is the right one for him. The most important thing is that he doesn’t lose his faith in himself. Thompson is a handful for anybody, the very fact he was put in at that level so soon in his career shows just how much faith people have in his ability, and still do. You have to have belief, if he still has it then he can work on his mistakes and make a real impact on the division."
As for Shannon himself, his gym has been closed for almost a month now due to council red tape following a break in; the trainer is working out of Ricky Hatton’s gym in Hyde and Callum Winton, Hartlepool’s 2-0-1 lightweight prospect, is back in town. Shannon believes that the 21-year-old will develop apace during the coming boxing season.
"Cal’s back, he’s one for the future and it given us all a lift to have a bright, young boxer like Callum in the gym,” he said. “We’ve got experienced pros like David Barnes, who is getting ready to challenge Frankie Gavin [at London’s Copper Box Arena on September 21] for the British and Commonwealth [welterweight] titles, so it is nice for Callum to watch Dave as well — he’s getting to see what a big fight camp looks like and that should whet his appetite. We’re moving on, despite not hearing from the council, but we’re not giving up the fight to get our old gym back, not by a long shot."
Click on the following link to sign Shannon’s petition: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/manchester-city-council-reopen-bob-shannon-s-gym-or-find-it-a-new-home .