Martin Ward has respect for champ Stuart Hall

Stu Hall and Martin Ward will be fighting for the World Bantamweight title at the end of March.
Stu Hall and Martin Ward will be fighting for the World Bantamweight title at the end of March.

MARTIN Ward insists the build-up to his IBF World title challenge will remain peaceful despite saying Stuart Hall had “spat his dummy out”.

The North-East rivals may not be bosom buddies but are on friendly terms – or at least that seemed to be the case.

Hartlepool bantamweight Ward takes on the Darlington fighter who is making the maiden defence of his International Boxing Federation belt, at Newcastle a week on Saturday.

Ward says he likes and respects the champion but is confident he can take his crown from him.

“Stuey has spat his dummy out and reckons I said I had bashed him up in sparring,” the 26-year-old told SportMail.

“But that is a load of rubbish, I never said anything of the sort.

“What I said was I had sparred well and think I know how to beat him.

“That’s a world away from saying I bashed him up!”

Ward believes Hall will come out all guns blazing at the Metro Radio Arena and feels that will play into his talented hands.

The Neil Fannan and Dave Garside boxer must avoid the big shots of Hall, who dumped South African Vusi Malinga on his backside on his way to winning the IBF belt in Leeds in December.

“I don’t think I will need to go looking for Stu,” Ward explained.

“I believe he will come looking for me and will walk onto a lot of shots.

“I do think he will be happy to take a few of my fast shots in order to land one of his good right hands.

“But if I land three shots to every one of his, we all know who is going to win the exchanges.

“That’s our game plan, just to get in there and out box him.

“He doesn’t think I hit very hard but I disagree – I think I hit solid enough to command respect.

“When he walks onto a couple of my shots he might think otherwise.

“I think Stuey is going to come running out and try to wipe me out in the first four rounds – he believes he is at a different level and his power is far superior to mine.”

For all the hype surrounding the North-East’s first world championship derby, Ward says he has no interest in engaging in a Carl Froch v George Groves war of words.

“Stuey’s done great, I like him,” Ward said. “I haven’t got a bad word to say about him.

“He is a good lad and he has deserved everything he has done, it’s brilliant he’s the world champion.

“This is just business, obviously I want to win the title and he wants to keep it.

“We will have 12 good rounds of boxing and if, and hopefully when, I beat him I will buy him a pint.”