MARTIN Ward wants titles and he wants them now – but he is happy to keep himself “nice and sharp” with a European test in Hartlepool.
The West Rainton boxer, chasing championship honours now at super-bantamweight, will face Simas Volosinas at the Borough Hall tonight.
Ward is due for a British title eliminator with Nottingham’s Leigh Wood, as the Echo reported on Wednesday.
However, that match is not expected to take place until the summer, possibly on the Summer Rumble at the Stadium of Light.
So before then, the 27-year-old needs rounds and is hoping to get them against the Lithuanian.
“I hope it will be a good, stern test,” Ward told the Echo.
“I know nothing about him, so we’ll have to wait and see how good he is.
“I know he’s boxed over here a load of times and seems to always go the distance.
“I just want to get in the ring and box my best.
“I do want title fights, but I love boxing and I know I need little bouts like these to keep me nice and sharp.”
Ward is confident of success after stepping up a division following a good run at bantamweight, where he was Commonwealth champion and a challenger for Stuart Hall’s IBF World title.
The southpaw has even been doing a fair bit of sparring, not a favourite occupation of his, including Yorkshire’s Jason Cunningham, who is fighting for his old belt.
“It was a good spar on my behalf, I’m not sure it was very good for Jason Cunningham,” he said. “They rang up and said they were fighting a southpaw for the Commonwealth title and would we do a spar or two.
“Neil (Fannan, Ward’s coach) is a patriotic man and always wants English fighters to do well, so we gave them a helping hand.
“They came up here and we did six and then we went to their place and did another 10 and it went well.
“I have done plenty of other sparring as well, including Thomas Essomba and Abdom Seasar, who are both former Olympians.
“I don’t like sparring that much and I admit that, but I’ve done more sparring recently than ever before.
“I feel good and I’m just looking forward to boxing again.”