Fannan happy to keep his focus on Ward

Martin Ward.
Martin Ward.
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MARTIN Ward’s coach Neil Fannan admits there has been little homework done on the West Rainton fighter’s opponent on Saturday.

But he’s not too bothered about that as he prepares his man for the Commonwealth title battle with Gabriel Laryea.

Fannan said: “We’ve only ever really studied one fight and that was Lee Haskins (for the British title in April).

“Whether I’m being naive or not I don’t know, but I’ve never been one, for any of my fighters, to study and say ‘when he does that, we’ll do this’.

“I’ll have a look at them and have an idea of them but I’ve always been a believer in sharpening your own tools – and knowing you can do your own thing well.”

When Ward met the media at a press conference last month at the Newcastle Centre for Sport, the 25-year-old joked that Laryea was an “international man of mystery”.

While said in jest, Ward is not a million miles away from the truth.

Laryea has spent his entire career in Ghana. In fact, he’s only boxed twice outside his home city of Accra.

His record is an impressive one, 16 wins and two draws from 20 bouts, 11 of his victories coming inside the distance.

Laryea earned his shot at the vacant Commonwealth title by winning a wide points decision against Cobbina Johnson in a final eliminator last December.

Fannan knows that Accra and Ghana are synonymous with hard lads and hard hitters.

Azumah “Zoom Zoom” Nelson, regarded by many as one of the greatest African fighters of all time, is from the Ghanaian capital.

So too was Anyetei Laryea, who ended the Commonwealth super-bantamweight reign of his former boxer, Argie Ward, in brutal fashion back in October, 2007, in Peterlee.

“He was good and of the same second name as the lad Martin’s fighting,” Fannan said. “Nine times out of 10, the African boxers are strong, come-forward fighters.

“Gabriel Laryea is the mandatory challenger, it’s us who have sneaked in. He’s earned the right to be here and in some ways, we haven’t. I’m not saying Martin does not deserve it, he’s been one of the busiest banatamweights in the country and he’s worthy of this chance.

“Laryea has won an eliminator for this and has done everything he’s had to do to get this contest. I’m sure he’ll be a worthy challenger.”