MARTIN Ward is counting down the days to finally getting his hands on his first professional title.
The gifted Hartlepool bantamweight will face Liverpool’s Mike Robinson for the vacant English championship at the Borough Hall on Saturday, September 30.
Ward has endured a luckless run in 2012 but he plans to make his own luck at the iconic Headland venue.
The 24-year-old had been due to face Craig Lyon in St Helens in March only for the Scouser to pull out and promoters Dave Garside and Phil Jeffries could not pin down an opponent for their show at Houghton-le-Spring in May.
And when Robinson was signed up to fight Ward for the belt at the Stadium of Light last month, a hand injury forced the Neil Fannan-trained star off the Summer Rumble spectacular.
But Ward says he is now fighting fit and the tools of his trade are in working order.
“It’s been a long time coming,” he told SportMail.
“But there is a saying that all good things come to those who wait.
“Fingers crossed, it’s happening now, unless my hand falls off!”
That Ward can still smile through adversity is testament to the mentality of the gifted showman.
While waiting patiently for an opening, the former World Cadet championship silver medallist has built up an impressive pro run of 15 wins from 16 outings.
“If I was a little bit older I would probably have been frustrated at the fact a title bout has yet to happen,” he said.
“But I am only 24.
“It’s been nice to get the experience and I’ve fought Ian Napa last year and had a couple of eight/ 10 rounders against tough opponents.
“Getting those fights under my belt has been important for my career.
“When I do get a title I will be a still-young-but-experienced champion.
“So when I get the chance to fight the likes of Stuey Hall and Jamie McDonell further down the line for the big titles I have the experience.
“All this I’ve been doing is working towards me getting to the top.”
SEE Saturday’s Mail for full story