MARTIN Ward’s big title fight is ON and there will be no excuses if the Hartlepool boxer does not do the business.
SportMail revealed last month that his shot at the vacant Commonwealth bantamweight championship against Africa’s Gabriel Laryea had to be postponed because of back and shoulder injuries to the gifted 25-year-old.
The fight was due to be staged by Phil Jeffries at the Rainton Meadows Arena on Saturday, October 19.
The Houghton show still went ahead, but with the English lightweight title derby between Kirk Goodings and Paul Truscott as the headline act.
Now, the Ward v Laryea battle will take place on Saturday, December 7, in Newcastle, with new North-East promotion company, Ringstar, staging the event.
Ward was today due to be facing the media at a press conference for the exciting challenge at the Centre for Sport in Newcastle’s west end.
And coach Neil Fannan says all is now “firmly on course” for his boxer after the postponement of the original date.
“Martin is as fit as a fiddle now,” said the coach.
“He’s in full training and everything is going fine – Martin was troubled with his back shoulder and then after the fight was called off he was struggling with his Achilles which restricted his roadwork.
But he is running now and he could fight next week if we wanted to!
“The only thing we really need to step up on is the sparring.
“But we have some top sparring lined up and all’s well – everything is firmly on course.
“Unless anything else happens to Martin from now until the fight night there will be no excuses from us about injuries or the fight being delayed.
“The fight has been put back, but he is over his injuries and we are still almost five weeks away from the fight.
“It’s going to be a hard bout – Laryea is a top fighter, but we have high hopes for Martin.”
The Dave Garside-managed star has lost only twice in a 19-bout career.
The most recent was a fifth-round stoppage at the hands of European number one, Lee Haskins, back in April for the vacant British title.
But Fannan added: “Martin is a great talent and we are confident December 7 can be his night.”
The show is what looks like being a stunning debut for fighter-turned-promoter Mark Clauzel.
The 30-year-old Geordie won all six of his pro contests but has hung up his gloves after suffering dizzy spells.
Clauzel, who operates under the Ringstar banner, has TV coverage lined up for the show.
The castlist for the event also includes two unbeaten members of Fannan’s Brierton gym – Tommy Ward, Martin’s younger brother, plus light-heavyweight Rob Ismay.
Hartlepool neighbours, the Gus Robinson Developments camp, will have two undefeated boxers in action at the Centre for Sport – Peter Cope and Anth Hardy.