Sunderland boxer targets Stadium of Light boost

Martin Ward in action against Lee Haskins

Martin Ward in action against Lee Haskins

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MARTIN WARD says he is itching to put the disappointment of his British bantamweight title defeat behind him this weekend.

And the 25-year English bantamweight champion says the Summer Rumble event at the Stadium of Light this Sunday is the perfect venue for getting his career back on track.

The West Rainton boxer will face unknown quantity Adrian Fuzeli this weekend but the fight will be all about erasing the defeat to Bristol’s Lee Haskins in April.

Ward, ranked number two in Europe and Haskins number one, fought a battle before Haskins triumphed to inflict only the second defeat in 18 professional bouts on the Wearsider.

And Ward told the Echo: “I’m aiming to get back on track quickly this weekend.

“I think it is best to keep busy –there’s no point in going stale after my last fight.

“Obviously I was disappointed to get beat going for the British title but I’m going to keep myself occupied in the ring and not dwell on the past.

“Haskins’ a great fighter, a world-class fighter and we had a ding-dong for the first five rounds and it was just unfortunate that I came out on the losing side.

“I’m still pretty confident though that I will win a British title.

“It’s just one of those things in a way – we were rated one and two in Europe – and if he had been any other nationality I would have been laughing.

“But with him being British, he’s in the way of me getting a British title and it wasn’t easy.

“I do believe though that he has the capacity to go on to greater things and I feel the same is true of me.

“It was a good fight, I gave my best, maybe next time it will be different if our paths cross again, but I’m confident my best years are still very much ahead of me.

“I can guarantee I learned a few things from that defeat that I have been working in the gym.”

Ward will not underestimate Hungarian opponent Fuzeli.

“It’s another test really,” he said.

“He looks a solid performer and it will be a tough fight.

“It’s not a ‘gimme’ by any means but it’s what I need really to get myself ironed out and get back in the swing of things.”

This will be the first time that Ward has fought professionally on the same bill as his younger brother Tommy, who fights Devon’s Ben Morrish and Tommy says the two are looking forward to fighting on the same bill at the Stadium of Light this Sunday.

Tommy told the Echo: “I follow Martin’s fights and what he learns, I learn, because the areas he works on to improve are areas I can work to improve on too.

“It’s great to be boxing brothers because we encourage each other but are also very competitive, so the banter is great and we’re always egging each other on.

“I haven’t boxed since November because of a few injuries and a few pull-outs and it’s important for me to get back in the ring and put on a show.

“This would have been a very busy year for me if it hadn’t been for a few setbacks and I’m hoping the Summer Rumble is the start of a run of fights now.”

Tickets are still available for the 10-fight show.

For ticket information, call Neil on 07891 101399 or Phil on 07747 611020.