West Rainton fighter lands European title shot

Martin Ward
Martin Ward
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Martin Ward is to miss an appearance on home soil – but he could soon be looking to conquer Europe.

The West Rainton boxer has been taken off the Christmas Cracker bill at Houghton a week tomorrow.

However, coach Neil Fannan told the Echo there have finally been developments from the European Boxing Union.

Ward is the third-ranked EBU super-bantamweight and has been hopeful for some time of having a crack at continental honours while younger brother, Tommy, challenges for the British title.

Martin has been matched with Cristian Rodriguez for the European Union title, with purse bids closing on December 21.

Tenerife-based Rodriguez has won nine of his 10 bouts, four of his victories coming inside the distance.

“We’ve been waiting a while for news on the European front,” said Fannan.

“Martin wants good fights, title fights and now he’s got one.

“We’re looking forward to it.

“We’re going to see if we can negotiate with Rodriguez’s people to try to get the fight here.

“But he has never boxed outside the Canary Islands, so he may have a backer there.

“We may have to put in a purse bid but we’ll look to get the contest here.

“It’s an eliminator for the European title and that’s the belt Martin’s after, so we’re excited.”

Dave Garside, manager of the Wards, will almost certainly put in a bid for the EU match.

Martin had been due to box down the road from his home at the Rainton Meadows Arena next weekend when Seaham’s Jordan Ellison meets unbeaten Newcastle prospect Lewis Ritson for the vacant Northern Area lightweight championship.

But Fannan said the 28-year-old southpaw has been troubled with a niggly injury.

“Martin was complaining about a sore wrist, so there was no point taking any risks,” said the trainer.

“The was nothing to be gained from boxing so I pulled him out.

“But he’s never missed training, even after I said he would not be boxing.

“He’s been in my gym now for eight years and his attitude has never changed, from being a lad fresh out of the amateurs to an experienced, top class pro.

“I’m just so pleased now there is a title fight he can look forward to.”

While Ward will not be on the Christmas Cracker there is no shortage of local talent with Isaac Macleod and Warren Baister among the cast list.