MARTIN Ward’s British title ambitions look set to move a step forward in July, possibly at the Stadium of Light.
But the gifted West Rainton boxer must first negotiate an overseas opponent in Hartlepool on Friday evening.
The 27-year-old will face Simas Volosinas at the bumper fight night at the Borough Hall.
Friday’s show had been scheduled to feature both Wards with Martin joined on the cast list by younger brother Tommy.
But the unbeaten featherweight is nursing a hand problem so the elder Ward will carry the Neil Fannan and Dave Garside flag alone.
It will be a warm-up for an anticipated British super-bantamweight championship final eliminator in the summer.
The Echo reported at the end of February that the former IBF World bantamweight title challenger was at the front of the queue for the British super-bantamweight championship.
The British Boxing Board of Control nominated the gifted boxer for a final eliminator with Lewis Pettitt with a tilt at the title owned by James Dickens at the prize on offer.
Pettitt, as Fannan suggested at the time, has decided to look at another title, pulling out of the process.
It meant the BBBC picking another hopeful, Nottingham’s Sheffield-trained Leigh Wood, as Ward’s opponent.
Purse bids on that contest are due to close on May 13, with Fannan expecting the contest to go ahead in July.
Promoter Phil Jeffries hopes to stage it at the Summer Rumble at the Stadium of Light in July, though Wood’s backers could yet put in a larger bid.
“We’d love to put it on that show,” said Fannan. “But until the purse bids close, you never know, a better offer may come in.
“I’m told Wood is a big ticket seller so his people may try to get something in his own area.
“But someone reckoned that if we won the purse bids he wouldn’t come up here to fight Martin.
“We’ll see, it’s all ifs and buts at the moment.
“But if Wood pulled out then he’d go to the back of the queue, so we’re not sure he’d do that.
“We’ll see what happens but it looks like a July fight.
“But first Martin will be on at the Borough Hall and we’ll be looking for a good performance and win.”
A sore hand will deprive the Hartlepool boxing public of a sight of Tommy in action at the Borough Hall.
The 20-year-old damaged his fist in sparring and Fannan says his absence is a much a precaution as anything.
“A couple of weeks back he did 10 rounds with Andy Townend,” said Fannan.
“He was brilliant and nothing looked wrong at all, but at the end, he said his hand was sore.
“He’s hurt it a couple of times before so we said we’ll just nurse it and not do any punching, just some shadow boxing.
“But when he tried using it again, he complained straight away that it hurt.
“I decided to take him off the Borough Hall show and let his hand rest.
“He’s been busy so a break won’t harm and we’ll have him back out at the Stadium of Light in July.”