TOMMY Ward made it eight straight wins as a pro with a points victory over former sparring partner Michael Ramabeletsa in Newcastle.
Trained in Hartlepool by Neil Fannan, and managed by Dave Garside, the Co Durham featherweight was given a stern examination by the South African.
But Ward came through, almost unscathed, to gain a 59-55 verdict from referee Mark Curry.
The unbeaten 20-year-old, who sparred Ramabeletsa ahead of brother Martin’s IBF World title challenge in March, started smartly at the Metro Radio Arena.
Strangely though, he stopped jabbing and rounds three and four and while he had the better of each session, the fight was becoming closer.
The fifth round saw Ramabeletsa come on strong, landing with both fists to the head of Ward who was too open and too easy to hit.
And there was further issues for the red corner with Ward suffering a cut to his left eye.
It looked like being a difficult finale for the young prospect but he regained his compsure in the last, landing with short-range hooks with both hands.
A few tricky moments for the Fannan fighter but overall a good win against a tough and experienced fighter.
Josh Leather, who trains out of Stockton and Hartlepool, was also given a hard examination at the hands of come-forward Scouser Tommy Carus.
But the Guisborough counter-puncher emerged with a 58-56 scoreline from judge Andrew Wright, trainee referee Steve Hawkins taking charge inside the ropes.