Tommy Ward has been sparring two of the top super-bantamweights in Europe as he counts down towards the biggest fight of his career.
The unbeaten West Rainton talent faces Robbie Turley, from Wales, in a British title eliminator at Houghton’s Rainton Meadows Arena next month.
Ward’s coach, Neil Fannan, and manager Dave Garside have imported two top operators from the continent to make sure the 21-year-old has the optimum preparation.
Undefeated Spaniard Rafael Pujol has been joined at Fannan’s Hartlepool gym by Karim Guefi, from France.
Trainer Fannan believes the rounds done against Pujol and Guefi can help make the difference against a warrior like Turley on Saturday, March 5.
“Tommy’s looking very good,” reported Fannan.
“We’ve never shied away from bringing in sparring partners from overseas and they have been invaluable over the years.
“Guefi’s last fight was a win against Alejandro Gonzalez, who dropped Carl Frampton before Carl came back to beat him in America last year.
“Pujol is third in the Spanish ratings and has won all 10 of his fights.
“It’s been great for Tommy. He looks red-hot, he’s on a good diet and is in great condition already and the fight is still three weeks away.
“Tommy looks a superstar in the making and I’m not a coach who gets carried away and makes outlandish predictions.
“But I’m proper impressed with him. Everything I ask of him, he has stepped up each time.
“I can’t believe how welll he has done and continues to do.
“I know he’s got to do it in the ring, but there is no reason why he can’t.”
Ward has won all 16 of his contests and at the age of 21 he has the world at his feet.
However, he will be facing a test at the Rainton Meadows Arena.
At 29, Turley is closer to the end of his career than the start and will know his chances are starting to run out, which makes him a dangerous opponent.
The boxer, from Cefn Fforest, has, like Ward, won 16 times though he has five defeats on his record, his last loss being a defeat in a challenge for the Welsh title against Dai Davies in 2014.
Ward’s most recent outing was an impressive points win over two-time world title challenger, Nicaragua’s Everth Briceno at Houghton.