Ward all set for big title contest

Martin Ward.
Martin Ward.
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MARTIN Ward’s big title fight is ON and there will be no excuses if the West Rainton boxer does not do the business.

Ward’s shot at the vacant Commonwealth bantamweight championship against Africa’s Gabriel Laryea had to be postponed last month because of back and shoulder injuries to the gifted local 25-year-old.

The fight was due to be staged by Phil Jeffries at the Rainton Meadows Arena on Saturday, October 19.

The Houghton show still went ahead, but with the English lightweight title derby between Kirk Goodings and Paul Truscott as the headline act.

Now, the Ward v Laryea battle will take place on Saturday, December 7, in Newcastle, with new North-East promotion company Ringstar putting on the event.

Ward was today due to be facing the media at a press conference for the exciting challenge at the Centre for Sport in Newcastle’s West End.

And coach Neil Fannan says all is now “firmly on course” for his boxer after the postponement of the original date.

“Martin is as fit as a fiddle now,” said the Hartlepool-based coach.

“He’s in full training and everything is going fine – Martin was troubled with his back shoulder and then after the fight was called off he was struggling with his Achilles which restricted his roadwork.

“But he is running now and he could fight next week if we wanted to. The only thing we really need to step up on is the sparring.

“But we have some top sparring lined up and all’s well – everything is firmly on course.

“Unless anything else happens to Martin from now until the fight night, there will be no excuses from us about injuries or the fight being delayed.

“The fight has been put back, but he is over his injuries and we are still almost five weeks away from the fight. It’s going to be a hard bout – Laryea is a top fighter, but we have high hopes for Martin.”

The Dave Garside-managed boxer has lost only twice in a 19-bout career.

The most recent was a fifth-round stoppage at the hands of European number one, Lee Haskins, back in April for the vacant British title.

But Fannan added: “Martin is a great talent and we are confident December 7 can be his night.”