Trainer Pollard: ‘We climbed the mountain’

Paul Ingle v Manuel Medina, 15 years ago to this day at the Hull Ice Arena
Paul Ingle v Manuel Medina, 15 years ago to this day at the Hull Ice Arena
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Fifteen years since Paul Ingle climbed the mountain and became IBF Featherweight world champion and trainer Steve Pollard still remembers it like yesterday.

Although Pollard didn’t enjoy the best start to the day as he recalls: “I’d had a car crash going to open up my pub on the morning of the fight and with it being the 13th I thought that was it, a bad omen.

“I was sure we weren’t going to have any luck that day.

“I didn’t tell Paul about the crash but he was so focused I probably could have.

“He was so confident and training camp was fantastic, I didn’t want to ruin that.”

The mood in the camp was great going into the fight according to Pollard.

He said: “He’d been training in America and his sparring was great.

“He was going supremely well and from that I never really thought it was possible he could lose.”

His opponent on the night, Manuel Medina had a strong record heading into the fight, but Pollard says the result was never in doubt: “We’d been watching Medina and had multiple game plans to beat him, but in the end we only needed plan A and it worked to perfection.”

The fight is still widely viewed as one of Sky Sport’s greatest bouts and Pollard says it is rightfully held in high regard.

“It’s arguably one of the best fights ever broadcast on British TV,” added Pollard.

“There were more punches thrown in those 12 rounds than ever before and the legacy of that fight will live on in our memories forever.”

Ingle had been training in Hull, yet his heart belonged in his home town of Scarborough and Pollard was hugely impressed at the support the featherweight received on the night.

He said: “There were about 4,500 fans in the arena in Hull and of those I’d say around 2,500 to 3,000 were from Scarborough.

“The atmosphere was like nothing I’ve seen or heard before, it was electric.

“He may have trained in Hull but Paul absolutely loved Scarborough, it’s all he ever talked about.”

Following the fight, Ingle built up a lot of followers from Hull according to Pollard.

He added: “He won a lot of admirers from the city and I’d say in his next fight about 2,500 of the crowd was made up of residents of Hull, which was fantastic.”

Despite his own successes in boxing, Pollard said Ingle’s title win was the pinnacle of his career, adding: “I’ve done a lot in my career but that was by far my greatest moment.

“As a trainer, and Paul as a boxer, we reached the pinnacle.”

Pollard admitted his nerves got the better of him later in the fight as Ingle’s showboating almost cost him his world title win.

He added: “We weren’t sure of the scorecards so when Ingle went down in the last round I froze.

“It was the scariest, longest moment of my life and it left me speechless.

“But we’d done it. We’d climbed the mountain and I don’t think I’ve experienced anything better in all my years of boxing.

“Still to this day I can’t describe my emotions when he’d won.”