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Jennings: I am not finished yet!


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MICHAEL JENNINGS has spent a lot of Christmases wishing for the same thing – that little bit of luck in the New Year.


In 2005, it was hoping that his third and final defence of the British welterweight title would go well, bringing home the Lonsdale Belt that had been his lifelong dream.


Challenger Young Mutley went on to make it a nightmare by winning a contentious points call in the January.


In 2008, it was hoping he had what it took to bring the WBO world championship to England, topping the bill at Madison Square Garden. Unfortunately, the world-class Miguel Angel Cotto was the other man contesting the vacant title that February night and took Jennings apart in five rounds.


Last year, it was hoping that his long-awaited chance to win the British crown for a second time would get off the ground, after Kell Brook had pulled out of the fight before Jennings himself busted his hand. As before, looking on the bright side didn’t help – the two finally got it on at the fourth time of asking in September and again it ended in five rounds, Jennings pulling out with a nasty cut.


It’s a sequence of luck that would have finished off lesser fighters but ‘Mr Chilled’ from Chorley has been his usual laidback self over the turkey and trimmings, refusing to give in to bad luck.


Only the clock ticks down with each bad year that passes and come September he will be 34. It’s not now or never but it’s heading in that direction, as Jennings outlined to manager Frank Warren in his office before heading off for Christmas. Now, the never-say-die veteran can again look forward.


He said: “I think I am one of the unluckiest boxers who has ever lived but, hopefully, something will go right for a change and a good fight will come up.


“I am pretty chilled out, perhaps too chilled out, maybe I should kick up a fuss a bit more! Obviously I have been gutted by some of the things that have happened, but you have to get up and carry on. I just get on with it.


“I am not finished yet, I still feel fit and fresh. I have not had many big battles in the ring and I am always ready to fight. I don’t feel my age but time is getting on. Hopefully I can get another fight with Kell Brook, I don’t regret fighting him the first time because I still think I can beat him.”


The final kick in the you-know-whats is that Jennings was forced to pull out of the British title race due to the cut sustained against Brook, although he is still a top challenger.


It’s going to take a while yet as well, with Craig Watson and John O’Donnell – who Jennings pulled out of facing with his hand injury at the end of last year – meeting for the vacant crown on February 5.


At least Jennings, barring any more bad luck, will surely be next in line to face the winner. And the former British champion will be intrigued to see who comes out on top, especially with his friendship with Watson in mind.


Jennings said: “It’s a good match-up, it’s a 50-50 fight because Craig can bang a bit and John O’Donnell is very busy.


“I am good friends with Craig but, if it came down to it, I would fight him or whoever is the British champion. I will fight anyone. I would love to fight for the British title and win it outright, to have that belt and take it home with me. I am not bothered who I have to go through, to be honest with you. I think I would beat them both.”



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