MARTIN Ward plans a special present for the man he describes “as the best trainer on the planet” – the world title.
Ward starts tonight’s IBF bantamweight championship confrontation in Newcastle with Stuart Hall as not only the challenger but the rank outsider.
But the gifted 26-year-old is “confident” he can overturn the odds and take the belt from the Darlington fighter.
“I want to win it for me and my family, but I also want to do it for Neil Fannan.
“It will complete his collection – Northern Area, English, British, Commonwealth and World.
“Mind you, if he wins the world title he might pack in!
“I daren’t win in case he retires, I can’t lose my trainer.
“But, seriously, it will be great for the old fella to get the recognition he deserves.”
Not only is Fannan the trainer at his Hartlepool gym, he’s the southpaw’s inspiration.
“In Fanno I have the the best trainer on the planet,” said the Dave Garside-managed star.
“He is the most dedicated man in the world and he gets the best out of me every time.
“Neil knows what it takes and he’s told me in the gym I’ve got it all and I can do it.
“You can’t get better than have a man who has been there with another great champion in Michael Hunter?
“He tells me I can do it and he’s a genuine man – he wouldn’t say it if he didn’t believe I could do it and I believe I am going to do it.”
Not only has Fannan got Ward’s mentality right he’s got him in the best physical shape.
And the challenger believes he will be too clever and too lively for the 34-year-old champion at the Metro Radio Arena.
Ward, who weighed in at 8st 4¼lbs, thinks Hall (8st 5lbs) will be unable to repeat the performance in his “incredible” title triumph over Vusi Malinga in Leeds.
“Stu and Malinga just battled it out, there was no great boxing involved,” said Ward.
“Malinga stood in front of him and Stu hit him.
“Don’t misunderstand me, Stuey showed unbelievable heart – his will and determination to fight for those last three rounds with one eye completely closed was incredible.
“But can he produce that every time?
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l FEARLESS Fox: It’s my time: Page 46
l WARD can go Hall the way: Page 47
“He was the challenger then, he was fighting for his dream, like I am now.
“Can Stu go to the well and find that again if he has to?
“I am as fit as a fiddle amd as game as they come.
“Boxing is my way but I can fight as well. Hit and not get hit, that’s the game.
“But if people think Martin Ward can only run and box, they could be in for a shock – if it’s about standing up and having a go, I’m more than capable of it.
“I will walk through walls to beat him.
“He’s had his big night and I don’t think he can go to the well again – I think the well is drained after his last fight.
“I’m 26 years old and my well is full.”
Can Ward do it?
He certainly can. The NES Securities-sponsored southpaw is a slick boxer, who is sharp enough to avoid Hall’s aggressive approach.
As the challenger, he must not only avoid Hall’s powerful right fist, he must throw and land enough of his own shots to impress the judges.
If he does, a world title could be on its way to Hartlepool.
l TICKETS will be on sale at the Metro Radio Arena tomorrow, with doors opening at 5pm. Boxing is due to start at 5.30pm. The main title fight is due to start at 10.30pm.