Martin Ward believes brother Tommy will win at the very top level at super-bantamweight – after he has won the titles first.
The Ward brothers, from West Rainton, are two of the big draws at the Summer Rumble at the Stadium of Light tomorrow.
Martin had been due to top the bill in an English super-bantam title fight and British championship eliminator with Leigh Wood, only for the Yorkshire boxer to pull out, citing an injury.
The 27-year-old will still box at the outdoor event, marking time with a six-rounder against Giorgi Gochishvili, from Georgia.
Wood’s withdrawal means Tommy will take the limelight instead with an eight-round international bout against another highly-rated Georgian, Vladimer Janezashvili.
It is set for eight rounds and will be his first fight at super-bantam, the same division as big brother.
After 13 wins on the spin, Tommy looks set for title honours, so is there room for both Wards at the same 8st 10lb category?
“Of course there is,” laughed Martin. “When I win the British, I’ll move on to the European.
“I’ll give up the British and Tommy can fight for that!
“Yes, there are titles out there for both of us.”
Martin might not say it in as many words, but you get the impression he feels Tommy is destined for glory.
The 21-year-old joined the pro ranks without even one adult bout as an amateur and has prospered in the paid ranks under coach, Neil Fannan, and manager, Dave Garside.
“If you look at the way Tommy has been minded, he’s not been looked after the way I was for the first seven or eight fights,” said Martin.
“I boxed relatively easy opposition, I admit that.
“The first hard fight I had was probably Ian Napa and I’d had 10 or 12 by that stage.
“Tommy has been in with some good campaigners already and he’s up to 13 bouts now.
“He’s had top-class sparring as well.
“I’ve watched Tommy maturing – you don’t see the dummy being spat out any more.
“He’s training harder and he’s been sparring with some really good kids and holding his own.
“Things are looking good for him. He can definitely go places and, in Neil, he has the right man behind him.”
The elder Ward should deal with Gochishvili with few problems.
While he has an unbeaten record in his homeland, the Georgian has not won outside his homeland, losing five of his 11 career bouts.
Tommy has a more challenging test, with Janezashvili winning nine of his 11 contests, seven of the victories coming inside the distance.