Martin Ward has suffered a further blow to his appearance on the Summer Rumble, writes Roy Kelly.
The West Rainton boxer had hoped to box Lincoln’s former Commonwealth champion Bobby Jenkinson for the European Union super bantamweight belt, only for the match to fail to get title status.
Jenkinson though was still set to face Ward in an intriguing 12-round non-title affair a week on Sunday.
Unfortunately, the 24-year-old has now withdrawn from the Stadium of Light extravaganza and despite an extensive search, the organisers have been unable to find a replacement.
Ward’s coach, Neil Fannan, said: “We’ve tried all over to get someone but it’s hard finding a boxer at short notice for a 12-rounder.
“Martin’s had these set-backs before – he’s had no luck – but hopefully later in the year he’ll get his rightful shot at the EU title.
“For now, he’s going to have to plod on. It’s disappointing to have the Jenkinson fight fall through so now he’ll have a six-rounder at the Rumble.
“I think the match-maker has an overseas opponent lined up.”
It leaves the annual showpiece at Sunderland’s football ground without a stand-out top-of-the-bill contest, meaning the Ward brothers, Martin and Tommy, Peterlee-trained Glenn Foot, and Wearside’s Commonwealth champ, Thomas Essomba, as the main draws.
While the quality level may have taken a knock with the loss of Ward v Jenkinson, the quantity certainly hasn’t.
Promoter Phil Jeffries is putting on 14 bouts on the sixth staging of the Sunday afternoon show.
“We’ve got the best and most exciting lads in the North East boxing and at the best venue in the business,” he said.
Tommy Ward will take on Nicaragua’s Barcelona-based fighter Elvis Guillen.
The 21-year-old hopes his six-rounder will be a tune-up for a British title challenge as the Ward brothers aim to end 2016 as champions in the super-bantamweight division.
For ticket info, call Neil on 07891101399.