Neil Fannan may be about to let Tommy Ward off the leash. But it’s still only a may be!
The coach guided the 21-year-old to the 14th win of a very impressive professional record when he outpointed substitute opponent Dmitrijs Gutmans at the Summer Rumble.
Tommy pesters me to move him on.
Ward won all six rounds at a canter despite suffering a cut above his left eye which required some good cornerwork by Fannan and then four stitches afterwards.
The young prospect put the Latvian down twice and clinched a landslide 60-52 scoreline from referee Graeme Williams.
Ward had been scheduled to box another Eastern European, Vladimer Janezashvili, initially for the inaugural British Promoters Association challenge super-bantamweight belt.
Even after the title aspect fell through, he was still due to box the Georgian over eight rounds.
However, a visa problem ruled out Janezashvili, with Gutmans flying in on Saturday as a late replacement.
A regular visitor to these shores, Gutmans never stopped trying but Ward was as skilled and exciting as ever.
“I thought Tommy boxed very well,” said Fannan. “There is the odd little thing he does wrong, but he showed his class.
“He did not let the cut distract him too much.
“I thought it did draw him into more of a fight but after the fifth, I said ‘just protect your eye in this round’.
“There was no point in him taking any risks, he’d already won it.
“It was great watching Tommy box and win at his own weight, I was half-impressed with the other lad, his movement and trhe way he recovered from being put down.
“He gave a good account of himself, but Tommy’s pure class.
“Tommy pesters me to move him on.
“He’s had 14 wins and if you said to me ‘can he beat (British super-bantam contender) Rob Turley?’.
“I really think he could, but I’d rather have a few fights and then be able to say I know he could.
“We’ve taken our time because he turned pro at 18 sand those 14 fights are the only senior bouts he’s had.
“Yes, he’s got a good amateur pedigree, but as a junior.
“I think most people would put Tommy in (for a title) but the beauty of him is he’ll go with my judgement.”
Fannan has judged it perfectly so far and Ward looked highly polished yesterday.
You could watch him box every day, such are his skills. His jab was imperious and he mixed it up with some sharp lefts to the body and accurate long rights.
A cut above his left eye in round three did not interrupt his flow and a stinging right put Gutmans on the floor.
The 24-year-old was up at three and continued but Ward repeated the feat in the fourth, Gutmans again getting up by the county of three.
Ward dominated the rest of that round and while the Baltic boxer was more industrious in the fifth and sixth rounds, he was well beaten.
There was dismay for Tommy’s elder brother Martin, though.
His scheduled opponent, Giorgi Gochishvili, was unable to leave Georgia because of visa trouble and a replacement fighter, from Spain, fell through also.
It meant the 27-year-old did not box at the Stadium of Light though he was at ringside to cheer Tommy on to victory.