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Martin Ward must wait on new rival

WEST Rainton bantamweight Martin Ward will wait on a new opponent in his British title fight.

Ward has been handed a crack at the British title after his recent win against Jason Booth.

But title holder Jamie McDonnell will now relinquish the belt after victory on Saturday earned him a crack at the IBF world title next year.

Ward (right) will now have to wait to see who the British Boxing Board of Control name as his opponent for what will be a vacant title. Promoter Phil Jeffries is hoping to put on that fight in the North East.

McDonnell found a way to break down a tough-as-teak stand-in who had threatened to ruin his big night on Saturday.

The Doncaster man, boxing 20 miles downstream in Sheffield as chief support to Kell Brook, was finding the going tough against Darwin Zamora, a late call-up following the withdrawal of Vusi Malinga, until the Nicaraguan opted not to get off his stool at the end of the eighth round.

With open cuts on the left-hand side of his face, the relative unknown decided against soaking up further punishment, conceding the riches on offer for winning this final eliminator.

And while there was no doubt he was headed for a defeat on the cards when he called time, McDonnell will have been relieved not to have had to do another four rounds with him, for everything he was throwing seemed to be making little impression, other than the facial wound which developed from the sixth round onwards.

“The pressure was massive out there, but I knew what I could do, I know I’m the best in the world and now I have to prove it,” said McDonnell afterwards.

“I thought I had beat him, but he kept coming back.”

H Kell Brook will head off on holiday today, safe in the knowledge that when he gets back his team will have started work on his challenge for the world title or laid the foundations for an all-British showdown with Amir Khan.

Brook extended his perfect career to 29-0 with a third-round stoppage of Hector Saldivia in Sheffield, barely breaking sweat as he made what should have been the hardest fight of his career – an IBF welterweight final eliminator – look like one of the easiest.

He is now the next cab off the rank to fight the newly-crowned Devon Alexander, the American who took the belt from Randall Bailey this weekend, although there is some suggestion he may opt to vacate the title without defending it.

Brook has first choice either way, but with a growing clamour for a domestic scrap with Khan, other options may be pursued instead with promoter Eddie Hearn, while keen to stress the importance of the world title, already mulling over the options of how and where to stage a showdown with Khan.

“We could do a stadium fight in April, or we could go to the Manchester Evening News Arena,” said the Matchroom boss, who during his press conference read out an e-mail from Sheffield United, offering to stage a show at their Bramall Lane ground.

Hearn also believes Khan, who is rebuilding his career following a high-profile spilt from Freddie Roach and the loss of his light-welterweight world titles, would no longer be able to dominate negotiations with his man.

“His next fight is against a lightweight who can’t punch (Carlos Molina),” Hearn said. “What is Amir Khan going to do? You’re talking about a fight which would be box office, that would fill a stadium and pay both fighters in excess of £2million. Where else is he going to get that kind of money?

“Amir will want to fight on his terms, but that’s not the case now. We’re filling stadiums, breaking viewing figures on Sky and the terms would have to be 50-50 and if they can’t get their heads around that, it’s not going to happen.

“If we win the world title and then fight him, he’s not going to take 70-30. I know what his people are about, they are nice people and they love the pound note.”

 
 
 

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