TOMMY Ward is aiming to make the big breakthrough this Sunday when he fights Esham Pickering at South Shields.
The Hartlepool boxer is having his 10th and most high-profile fight of his flourishing career.
Ward has won nine in a row and his management team of Neil Fannan and Dave Garside will be looking to move him towards a title challenge – once he has passed this test over six rounds at Temple Park.
Pickering has won almost everything in the sport – he’s been British, Commonwealth and European super-bantamweight champion.
His career was never the same after losing a classic unification battle with Hartlepool legend Michael Hunter at the Borough Hall in 2005.
Pickering had already turned pro when the youngest of the Ward brothers had just got out of nappies.
But the 20-year-old is hoping to show he is all grown up in the ring.
“It’s a great fight, I’m really looking forward to it,” said Ward.
“What Esham’s achieved in boxing is fantastic so to be fighting him is very exciting.
“Pickering is a very clever fighter, he’s going to be tricky.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how I cope with his old tricks, I may hopefully teach him a few new ones!”
Pickering is going to be a tough nut to crack.
But a win over the 38-year-old veteran of 45 bouts will move Ward closer towards his dream of a title bid.
“Pickering is not going to lie down,” said Ward. “He’s been a good fighter all his life and he’s not going to start now
“He’s the best fighter on my record and he’s still a big name. Beating him would take me another step to the next level. This is my test to move forward.
“Neil has his plan for me and I will follow what he says.
“My job is to fight and Neil will decide who and when.
“I’m hoping he’ll get me a title fight sooner rather than later because I feel I am ready for those fights.”
For ticket info, call Neil on 07891101399
– ROY KELLY