John Breen has always believed in Neil Sinclair, even in the darkest days and now he sees some new light at what seems to have been a long tunnel.
This Friday night at the Odyssey Arena Sinclair (inset) returns to a Belfast ring to box Mayo’s Henry Coyle for the Irish light-middleweight title on the supporting bill to Martin Rogan’s Commonwealth heavyweight title defence against Sam Sexton.
Breen was by Sinclair’s side during his lowest ebb, a stoppage defeat at the hands of Francis Jones in June 2007 but now believes the door could open to a British or Commonwealth title shot should he defeat Coyle.
Mayo man Coyle, who has lost only once in ten fights, jumped at the opportunity to take on Sinclair and he clearly believes he is getting the Belfast man at the right time.
But a defiant Breen said: “Neil is in the best shape I’ve seen in five years and I think the fact that he is boxing at light-middleweight has eased a lot of pressure.
“He has been very relaxed, he’s doing the weight comfortably and I think Coyle and his team are in for a big shock and I think everyone at the Odyssey is going to be surprised at just how good he performs.
“Neil knows this is his last chance. It’s been said before but really there is now way back if he loses this one but I don’t believe he will. He’s looked very sharp in sparring and his power is back. When he boxed for the EU welterweight title against Danielle Petrucci in Italy his boxing skills were there but there was no power.
“Once he deals with Coyle then I would hope that we can start moving towards a British or Commonwealth title shot. Everybody knows how highly I rate Neil and how frustrating it has been for me personally because he hasn’t fulfilled his potential but now there is a new path and it’s up to Neil to grab the chance.”
Former British champion Sinclair was one of many yesterday among the boxing fraternity at the funeral of veteran promoter and manager Mike Callahan, John Breen’s father-in-law.