TOMMY Ward is a young boxer heading for the top.
That is the confident prediction from his manager Dave Garside.
The former heavyweight star, who guided Hartlepool’s Michael Hunter to British, Commonwealth and European title glory, believes Ward – from West Rainton – has what it takes.
The 20-year-old, trained in the gym of his friend and associate, Neil Fannan, made it eight wins out of eight as a pro on Saturday at the Metro Radio Arena.
There was much gnashing of the gumshields from Tommy – and elder brother Martin – after the six-round points success over rugged South African Michael Ramabeletsa.
But while the 32-year-old, from Soweto, gave the youngster a tough examination, Garside is not concerned in the least.
“It was a good win for Tommy – he boxed very well,” Garside said.
“Ramabeletsa is not a journeyman – he came to win, he was very much a live opponent.
“Tommy will have learned a lot from that fight and I was very happy with that.
“I think Tommy has may be had two journeymen and the rest have been live opponents.
“In my view he’s heading towards the top 10 (in Britain). Without doubt, he can go on to be British, Commonwealth and European champion.
“He’s only 20 and his potential is phenomenal – he’s a good boxer with a good chin.
“Tommy took a few shots from Ramabeletsa and wasn’t fazed by them. When you go up in class you have to take a few punches and Tommy has answered those questions.
“He’s definitely one for the future.”
Fannan agrees with Garside and says they will look to keep the ball rolling with another test next time out.
“I don’t think there is any point in stepping back,” said the coach.
“I believe Ramabeletsa will test any super-bantam or featherweight over any distance, whether it is a six or eight or 10 rounder.
“If you are not up to the job, he will sort you out. So that wasn’t a bad win.”