Beaten European championship boxer Martin Ward won’t rush decision on future

Referee Giuseppe Quartarone calls off the fight after one minute, 29 seconds of the second round. Picture by TOM COLLINS
Referee Giuseppe Quartarone calls off the fight after one minute, 29 seconds of the second round. Picture by TOM COLLINS

Martin Ward says it is too early to make any decisions about his boxing future.

The Hartlepool star told SportMail he was devastated by the crushing defeat he suffered inside two rounds at the clinical and powerful fists of Abigail Medina.

It’s too early to decide what’s what, but that’s definitely not going to be my last fight

MARTIN WARD

Ward went into the attractive and intriguing European title confrontation at the Borough Hall optimistic that Saturday night would be the night he would join younger brother, Tommy, as a major super-bantamweight champion.

Sadly for the 29-year-old, the Spaniard had not received his copy of the script,

Medina’s power floored Ward three times inside the first five minutes and while the Dave Garside and Neil Fannan southpaw bravely got to his feet, referee Giuseppe Quartarone, correctly ended the bout at one minute, 29 seconds of round two.

Is it the end of the road for a wonderfully gifted boxer? Probably at the elite level, yes, but it would be unwise, and unfair, to write off the southpaw, for whom the phrase ‘the noble art’ could have been coined for.

Ward would need to re-build his career with a win or two and after 30 bouts, six of them title affairs, will he choose to do so?

Certainly, the former Commonwealth champ does not want to go out on Saturday’s note.

“I’m devastated,” said Ward. “But also so disappointed for my trainer, manager, family, friends, fans, sponsors, everyone.

“It’s boxing, he got me with a good shot, well more than one apparently, I can only remember the first one.

“He came to Hartlepool to defend his European title so obviously he was confident.

“But I was confident I could beat him and for two, minutes 56 seconds or whatever it was I gave him a bit of a boxing lesson.

“Then that happened, but it’s one of those things, it’s boxing. It’s happened to me once before, a long time ago, and I came back from that.

“It’s too early to decide what’s what, but that’s definitely not going to be my last fight.

“I love boxing, I wished I didn’t, because if I didn’t I’d probably pack in tomorrow, but do.

“I have to say a big thank you for the great support from all the fans there, not just mine. I’m sorry I couldn’t do it for North-East boxing but it’s onwards an upwards for Fanno’s team, Tommy’s defending his British title next month.

“I sparred great and I truly believed I can win. But I’m gracious in defeat and humble in victory and I congratulate Medina.

“We had our game-plan but he executed his very well.”

All had began so promisingly in the first round at the Headland venue with Ward looking relaxed and composed, scored nicely.

But all that changed right at the end of the round.

A looping right to the head from Medina landed bang on Stewart Lithgo’s bell with Ward going down. He was up swiftly with Signor Quartarone making no count.

Ward seemed to have recovered for the start of the second, only for Medina to deliver a long right flush on the southpaw’s chin, sending the challenger to the canvas.

Martin gave himself time to try to recover his senses and was up at “eight.”

Medina went straight back on the offensive and ruthlessly finished of the job and a right-left put Ward down near the ropes. He was up at “seven” but could barely stand and the Italian referee rightly waved it off. Ward required lengthy treatment from the medical team but left the ring to warm and deserved applause.