Martin Ward hopes to climb back into the boxing ring this month as a prelude to a European title challenge.
The 27-year-old has recovered from some terrible cuts sustained in his brave challenge for the British super-bantamweight championship last November.
We’re over the moon with Martin’s ranking with the European Boxing Union.
Ward requited 30 stitches in four head and eye wounds in his titanic battle with James “Jazza” Dickens, which ended in a split decision defeat at the Rainton Meadows Arena.
The West Rainton boxer lost a lot of blood but, fortunately, lost no heart after missing out on glory in one of the best British title fights of 2015.
Ward is now looking towards the continent for his next challenge.
The gifted southpaw is rated number four in Europe and coach Neil Fannan says they will step up his claims for a shot at that title.
Doncaster’s Gavin McDonnell has given up the European belt in order to tackle Panama’s Jorge Sanchez in a WBC super-bantamweight title eliminator on the Carl Frampton v Scott Quigg undercard on February 27.
Dickens, who was the mandatory challenger for the crown, is also believed to have pulled out with a mouth-watering match with Cuba’s Guillermo Rigondeaux in the pipeline.
Fannan is trying to get the former Commonwealth champ a bout as soon as possible and then press his claims.
“We’re over the moon with Martin’s ranking with the European Boxing Union,” he said. “That’s a route we’ll be looking to go down.
“But we need a win and that’s why we’ll be looking to get him in the ring as soon as possible.
“One of the rules the EBU have is that they don’t nominate fighters who have just had a loss.
“Martin had a great fight with Jazza last time out.
“I rate Jazza as good as anyone in the super-bantams, and that includes the likes of Frampton and Quigg.
“Martin proved that night he’s in that class and I’m confident he can go on to win the European title.
“But he needs a win first before we can go to the EBU and push his claims.”