Hartlepool boxer Martin Ward to fight France's Jeremy Parodi for EU title
Martin Ward is very close to fighting for the European championship.
The Hartlepool boxer has been made mandatory challenger for the European Union super-bantamweight title.
That belt is currently under the ownership of France’s Jeremy Parodi who outpointed Emiliano Salvini, from Italy, last month in Paris.
Doncaster’s Gavin McDonnell has vacated to move into world contention, having won the WBC silver super-bantam title.
With the championship becoming vacant, it makes Parodi v Ward a final eliminator and the European Boxing Union has ordered purse bids to be in by June 15.
The winner of this France v England battle would take on the victor between Ward’s arch-rival, James “Jazza” Dickens and Abigail Medina, from Spain.
Ward’s trainer, Neil Fannan, said he was encouraged by what 2016 may bring.
“I’m very excited about the situation,” said the coach.
“The European route has been the best one for Martin given his brother [Tommy] is going for the British title.
“I swotted up on the EBU rules and because Parodi beat Salvini for the vacant belt then he’s obliged to defend it.
“Martin’s one place below him in the ratings so I e-mailed the EBU and they have ordered a match and we’ll be putting in a bid for it.
“And with Dickens and Medina fighting for a vacant title, the winner of that would have to defend it against either Martin or Parodi.”
Fannan says Team Ward will be placing a purse bid with the Summer Rumble at the Stadium of Light on Sunday, July 10 a possibility.
“We’ll see what happens,” said Fannan. “I’ve spoken to [manager] Dave Garside and we’ll be doing our best to get home advanatage.
“But if we had to go to France to fight Jeremy then I’d still be confident.”
Parodi boasts a strong record of 38 wins and a draw from 42 appearances.
The 29-year-old, from Toulon, took McDonnell to points when the pair met in Sheffield last October for the European crown.
“Parodi is good,” said Fannan. “He’s a come-forward fighter who will try to wear you down.
“But , in my view, no super-bantamweight in the world has a better engine than Martin so I have no fears about this contest.”
Ward challenged for the British title last November, losing on a split decision to Dickens in one of the fights of the year.
Despite the defeat, the 28-year-old southpaw’s reputation was actually enhanced by his great performance in what turned out to be a bloodbath. He has boxed once since, outpointing Lithuanian Simas Volosinas in Manchester in February.