Coach Neil Fannan believes British champion Jazza Dickens is as good a super-bantamweight as there is in the UK.
Fannan will be in the corner on Friday night at the Rainton Meadows Arena, where West Rainton talent Ward will challenge for the Lonsdale Belt, currently in the hands of the Liverpool fighter.
I feel this is no easier fight than it would to fight Scott Quigg or Carl Frampton.
Currently, the super-bantam division is one of the strongest in these islands with Great Britain boasting two world champions – Belfast’s Carl Frampton (IBF) and the WBA king, Scott Quigg, from Bury.
And Fannan rates Dickens as highly as the two world rivals who will be scrapping it out in a unification battle in Manchester early next year.
“I feel this is no easier fight than it would to fight Scott Quigg or Carl Frampton – and they are world champions,” said the coach.
“I rate Jazza Dickens that highly.”
And Fannan believes the Scouser, who is making the maiden defence of his British crown, is taking victory for granted.
“I do believe they are underestimating Martin,” he said.
“Martin is a different man to what he has ever been before.
“He has a defence now and outside the ring, he’s been on a diet for the first time in his life and what a difference it has made.
“Making the weight has been so much easier. That, for me, is the final piece in the jigsaw.
“It gives me an extra bit of confidence and him too. He’s a different animal.”
Martin’s unbeaten brother Tommy is also action on a 12-bout event.