MARTIN Ward looks set for a foreign test at the big Summer Rumble event at the Stadium of Light.
It was hoped that the West Rainton boxer would get to defend his English bantamweight title on Sunday, July 7.
But no opponent has come forward and trainer Neil Fannan believes a “serious” rival from overseas would be just the ticket.
Ward goes into the show on the back of a defeat in his first bid for the British title – he was stopped in five rounds by Lee Haskins in Bristol in April.
However, Fannan says he is encouraged by the attitude of Ward who he “fully expects” to get to wear the famous Lonsdale Belt one day.
“Martin is a championship boxer,” said the trainer. “Initially we’d hoped to get him an English title defence at the Summer Rumble.
“But it looks like that’s not going to happen and I’m expecting the matchmaker to get him a serious foreign opponent.
“The one positive to come out of the Haskins defeat is that he’s come back to the gym and he’s trying even harder than before. I still believe lady luck did not favour us on the night, but it’s happened now.
“But the good thing is that it has not dented his confidence or his ambition.
“I’ve said to Martin that he won’t be getting an easy fight at the Summer Rumble. I want someone who’s going to come and have a go – someone to test him.
“Martin is a class act and it will not benefit him getting anyone he’ll just brush aside.
“I’m sure the British Boxing Board of Control will nominate a challenger for his English belt at some point, so a good win at the Stadium of Light will set him up nicely for his next championship fight.”
Ward will be joined on the Phil Jeffries-promoted bill by younger brother, Tommy, 18 who is looking to extend his 100 per cent pro record with a fifth victory. Tickets are available from Jeffries on 07747 611020.