European championship boxing: Martin Ward goes back to the start with coach

As strong a relationship as you will ever see in boxing, Martin Ward (right) with trainer Neil Fannan. Picture: Stu Norton.
As strong a relationship as you will ever see in boxing, Martin Ward (right) with trainer Neil Fannan. Picture: Stu Norton.
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Martin Ward and Neil Fannan have gone “back to the start” of their boxing association in a bid to strike gold.

The West Rainton talent faces the biggest moment of his career a week on Saturday when he challenges Abigail Medina for the European super-bantamweight title.

Ward will start as the slight outsider at Hartlepool’s Borough Hall against the Spaniard in what is a real career-defining moment.

The southpaw has been trained in Hartlepool by Fannan for nine years.

Their relationship is one of the strongest in the sport, with great mutual respect between boxer and trainer.

But Fannan has stripped everything back for this massive occasion as he revealed.

“We’ve gone back to the start again,” he said. “Martin is at the stage of his career when he knows what he’s doing,

“But we’re working as though we’re just starting out.

“When I want Martin to jump, he asks ‘how high?’ and we’re training harder than ever. We would never do it anyway, but no corners have been cut.

“We’ve added a few things to the camp and I’m not just saying this, but Martin looks fantastic.

“It’s been nice to watch him hit and move like the old Martin and he’s light on his feet.

“I’ve been very happy with him.”

If you ask the former Commonwealth bantamweight champion how much he enjoys sparring, you would get a lukewarm response.

But he has thrown himself into his sessions with the McDonell twins, Jamie and Gavin, in Doncaster.

Jamie is the WBA world bantam champ and Gavin the ex-European super king.

“He’s had a couple of weeks sparring with the McDonnells,” reported Fannan.

“Martin’s looking really sharp – he’s nearly ready.”

The show at the Headland venue features Sunderland’s Glenn Foot plus five other bouts.

For tickets, call Phil on 0774761020.