TOMMY Ward has warmed up for his biggest night in the boxing ring in style – by preparing a world champion for the second defence of his title, writes ROY KELLY.
The young West Rainton talent (pictured), who turned 20 just a fortnight ago, will box a six-rounder against South Africa’s Michael Ramabeletsa at Newcastle on Saturday night.
Ward will take on the 32-year-old, originally from Soweto but now fighting out of this country, on the undercard of Stuart Hall v Paul Butler IBF world bantamweight clash at the Metro Radio Arena.
Trainer Neil Fannan said: “Tommy has done 38 or 40 rounds with Stuey. He’s done a couple of eights, sixes and last Wednesday a 10.
“I’m not daft, I am not reading too much into it regarding Stuey, I know he truly comes alive when the light gloves go on and he steps into a fight.
“But I was very impressed with Tommy, he looked awesome.
“Last Friday, he did eight rounds at a really, really hot pace and then boxed a four-round exhibition on the night in Darlington against a young pro.
“Tommy has looked so sharp, but the thing I’ve noticed is that he’s matured into a man, physically and mentally.
“He’s an unbelievable talent and to be sparring so much with a current world champion can only make him better. You can’t fail to be impressed with him.”
On Ramabeletsa, who lost narrowly to Robbie Turley at Merthyr Tydfil, Fannan added: “He’s a good lad and good fighter. I watched the Turley fight on Eurosport and thought Michael got robbed.
“He was worth at least a draw and I think if he’d have just upped the pace in the last he might have got it. He’s won quite a few so we’re treating him with full respect, but Tommy is boxing beautifully and, while anything can happen in boxing, I’d be surprised an disappointed if it did not go our way on Saturday.”