Hartlepool boxer Martin Ward warms up for IBF world title by fighting Spider, Tshifhiwi Munyai

TITLE CHALLENGER: Martin Ward
TITLE CHALLENGER: Martin Ward

MARTIN Ward will have world-class training in his bid for a world class performance.

The IBF bantamweight championship challenger will spar WBA top-10 rated Tshifhiwi Munyai over the next three weeks at Neil Fannan’s Hartlepool United.

Fannan and manager Dave Garside hope the 28-year-old, known as the Atomic Spider, will give Ward the edge for his bid to take Stuart Hall’s belt at the Metro Radio Arena on March 29.

Ward and the South African, who won the WBA African super-bantamweight crown last year, will spar for the first time at Fannan’s Brierton HQ today.

“Tshi will be in Hartlepool a few weeks,” Fannan told SportMail.

“This lad is top class with 24 wins out of 26.

“He’s stopped both Martin Power and Lee Haskins in his time and has operated at a very high level for years.

“I think he’s something like six or seven in the world ratings at super-bantam.”

Munyai’s arrival comes courtesy of Ward’s sponsor, North-East Securities.

“Dave asked if there is anyone I wanted to bring in to help Martin with his preparations,” Fannan said.

“We located him, asked him, he said yes and he lands at Newcastle Airport today.”

Ward already looks in tremendous shape and that’s before he shares a ring with the king of Africa.

“We’ve been in training six to seven weeks now,” said Fannan.

“We’d been anticipating a Commonwealth title defence when we first went into the gym.

“We are well ahead of schedule.”

Over the last 18 months, Ward has taken part in three championship contests which Fannan believes will be of enormous benefit, both in the build-up as well as the fight itself.

Ward has won the English and Commonwealth belts – against Jason “Too Smooth” Booth and Gabriel Laryea – while losing to Haskins for the British championship.

“He’s had a couple of successful title fights and a failed British attempt but that’s part of the learning process ,” said Fannan.