Tommy Ward’s wait for the date of his British super-bantamweight challenge is finally over.
The unbeaten boxer will face champion James “Jazza” Dickens in Leeds on Saturday, May 13, live on BT Sport.
Tommy will have to prove it in the ring but I do believe he’s world-classNEIL FANNAN
Hartlepool v Liverpool takes place on a bumper show at the First Direct Arena where Yorkshire hero Josh Warrington will make the third defence of his WBC International featherweight belt and Olympic golden girl Nicola Adams will box in her home town as a professional.
It all adds up to a spectacular night promoted by major fight figure, Frank Warren, though Team Ward insist their boxer is not just going there to sample the atmosphere.
Coach Neil Fannan, who has guided the 22-year-old talent to 19 straight wins, is confident.
“I rate Tommy as good as anyone in the super-bantamweight division and that includes Jazza,” said Fannan.
“I marvel every day when I see him training in the gym and in sparring. He is getting better and better and no matter who he’s in with.
“I’ve had him down Sheffield sparring Kid Galahad – he’s done two eight rounders with him which people would have paid to watch.
“Yes, Tommy will have to prove it in the ring but I do believe he’s world-class.”
Fannan, manager Dave Garside and the boxer have been waiting for this moment for almost a year.
The younger brother of European super-bantamweight challenger, Martin, Tommy outpointed Welshman Robbie Turley in an eliminator at Houghton in February last year.
In the autumn, the British Boxing Board of Control have ordered the match between Dickens and Ward to take place before the end of February.
It has dragged on but there are no grumbles from Fannan.
“It’s just nice to have a date to work towards,” said the trainer. “With Frank Warren signing his big TV deal with BT Sport and the shows all needing to get organised, we knew we’d have to wait a bit.
“We’re over the moon to be on such a huge night of boxing at a great arena.
“We can’t wait.”