TOMMY Ward is a young man in a hurry – and his wait for a title fight might well be getting nearer.
The younger brother of former Commonwealth bantamweight champion and world challenger, Martin, continues to make a name for himself at featherweight.
And Tommy made it 11 wins from 11 in Sheffield on Saturday night with a close points win over Chris Adaway.
The 20-year-old did not struggle – far from it, his work was as busy as ever and he produced the sharper and more precise punching.
But he did not get it all his own way and that will serve him well in the tests which surely are to come.
Howard Foster’s scoreline of 58-57 was, arguably, a point too close, but it reflected the determination shown by the 21-year-old, from Plymouth.
“He came to win,” admitted Ward who could well be in the mix for the English title in 2015.
“I’ve been in good fights before, like Michael Ramabeletsa, but I’ve not really been in anything like that.
“Adaway did not stop coming.
“I wasn’t totally happy because I didn’t box the way I know I can box, I was fighting a little bit more more than I was boxing.
“But it was good for me, it was something new and good experience for me.
“I will learn and get better.
“When I seemed a bit down (afterwards), Neil was happy and said that was the sort of fight he wanted to see me in.
“It wasn’t an easy night’s work, Adaway gave it everything.
“He probably saw my record, 10 (wins) and 0 (defeats), and he knew if he beat me that would mean bigger and better things for him.
“Obviously, I was pleased to win but more happy because I felt I learned from that fight.”
Next for Ward will be a date on the Phil Jeffries-promoted show at Houghton on Sunday, March 8.
“I think we are stepping up to eight rounds in that one which is brilliant for me,” said the NES Securities-sponsored boxer.
“I’m looking forward to it already and putting on a good show and then seeing where Neil wants to take me from there.”
Fast-starting Ward was out the blocks quickly at Hillsborough Leisure Centre, scoring with his trademark sharp hands.
Ward continued his assault in the third round and an excellent left-cross sent Adaway’s gumshield flying out onto the blue canvas.
However, Adaway was no pushover and the former ABA semi-finalist refused to go away.
He upped his game in the fourth and while Ward impressed again in round five, the Devon fighter came back with spirit. Adaway began the last round strongly, clearly his corner having instructed him that he still had a chance.
He fought to the end but it was Tommy’s night as he moved closer to title contention.