Tommy Ward set for hardest fight of his life

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TOMMY Ward is ready for the hardest fight of his young life – thanks to session after session with the North-East’s only world champion.

After completing 40 rounds with IBF banatamweight title holder Stuart Hall, the Hartlepool-trained featherweight believes he can conquer South Africa’s Michael Ramabeletsa over six.

It will be tough test in Newcastle for the Neil Fannan and Dave Garside star who has reeled off seven wins out of seven.

Ramabeletsa, born and raised in Soweto, is 32 with 24 fights under his belt.

But the 20-year-old’s chances have been improved considerably by the fact he has been working as the principal sparring partner of Hall.

The Darlington fighter defends his IBF belt tomorrow night against Paul Butler, the unbeaten and confident Cheshire boxer who has moved up from super-flyweight to challenge him at the Metro Radio Arena.

“It’s been great sparring with a world champion, who is a tough, strong man,” said Ward.

“The sparring has been good. He wanted someone who was quite fast and a good mover to prepare him for Butler.

“We seem to have slotted in perfectly to their programme.

“The sparring has gone really well.

“The preparaion couldn’t have gone any better.

“I’ve done all these rounds with Stuey Hall and he’s been building towards a 12-round world title fight.

“I’m doing six rounds against a good opponent so what I’ve done with Stuey should be perfect for me.

“It’s great to be fighting on a world title show at the Metro Radio Arena and should be a fantastic experience.

“I’m looking forward to showing what I can do.”