Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ward Hopes Change of Weight Will Return Him to Top Scene

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ward Hopes Change of Weight Will Return Him to Top Scene

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner Sports Writer stuart.rayner@trinitymirror.com

HAVING reached the world stage at a weight he was never comfortable with, West Rainton's Martin Ward is ready to get back there at his natural poundage.

At the moment, Ward is more of a pub quiz answer than a name on the world scene, denied even an English super-bantamweight title shot by Leigh Wood's cry-off.

The July 5 Summer Rumble is a big deal for North East boxing, an annual chance for local prospects to impress at Sunderland's Stadium of Light.

Ward, though, has experienced bigger stages and yearns for more than a routine six-round contest.

Ward fought Darlington's Stuey Hall for the world bantamweight belt in March 2014, only for the fight to be called a technical draw after a clash of heads left him cut above the eye and unable to fight on beyond the fourth minute.

It was a crushing blow - "I was really, really gutted," he reflects - but one which caused him to get back to being what he was rather than trying to be something he was not.

"I struggled too much with that extra four pounds," Ward admits at the Stadium of Light as he looks forward to fighting there on July 5. "I always thought I was a superbantamweight anyway but there were a lot of opportunities at bantamweight - I won the Commonwealth (title), fought for the British and had a chance to fight for the world. It's served me well but I feel a lot more comfortable and stronger, and like I have a lot more power at super-bantamweight.

"There were doors open. I got an English title fight more or less straight away against Jason Booth, fought (Lee) Haskins for the British, then I fought for the Commonwealth, then fought Stuey at the Arena for the biggest title you can get.

"I feel I definitely have a few more titles in me at super-bantamweight."

Not that Ward, whose younger brother Tommy fights for a new challenger belt approved by the British Board of Control, has any regrets about his time at bantamweight.

He added: "Look at Frankie Gavin a few weeks ago - he knew he wasn't going to win (against Kell Brook) but you can't turn down the chance to fight for a world title. …

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