MARTIN Ward’s ambitions may have taken a serious knock – but the boxer is ready to Rumble.
Ward’s dream of becoming IBF world bantamweight champion ended in Newcastle on Saturday night when the West Rainton fighter was cut badly in the first round of his showdown with Stuart Hall.
The fight was stopped in round two with the result a technical draw, with Hall retaining his belt.
Ward needed 15 stitches and his right eye needs time to heal – but he plans to return to training soon and hopes to defend his Commonwealth title in Sunderland this July.
Phil Jeffries stages the action-packed Summer Rumble every year at the Stadium of Light and the 26-year-old fighter says that would be the perfect location to make his ring return.
Ward won the Commonwealth belt last December with a landslide points triumph over Gabriel Laryea in Newcastle and a July defence is tempting.
“Phil is putting on his show at the Stadium of Light,” said the skilful fighter, who is trained in Hartlepool by Neil Fannan and managed by Dave Garside.
“It’s a great event and venue – I beat Ian Napa there a few years ago in a big fight. I love fighting at the Summer Rumble and it would be nice to defend my Commonwealth title there.
“I believe I’m a world class fighter and I am still a champion.
“I want to keep that belt and hopefully get back in for a world title shot. Obviously my eye needs time to heal but I’m not really looking for a break as such.
“Neil has us training all the time – he doesn’t give us rests! But seriously I love fighting and I love training.
“Obviously, I can’t get hit but I can still train.”
Ward says he is happy to put his faith in Fannan and Garside, who have guided him since he turned pro in late 2008.
“I have the best trainer and manager in the world in Neil Fannan and Dave Garside,” said the southpaw. “They look after me and they always have.
“Whatever they tell me to do, I’ll do, I’ve said that from day one and that’s how it will continue.”