Hartlepool boxer Martin Ward thinking only of Commonwealth bantamweight title

CLASS ACT: Martin Ward
CLASS ACT: Martin Ward

MARTIN Ward will be thinking of nothing else but Commonwealth championship glory whem he walks to the ring to fight Africa’s Gabriel Laryea a week today.

The Hartlepool-trained boxer will meet the fighter from Ghana for the vacant bantamweight belt at the Centre for Sport in Newcastle.

Victory would not only make him the 8st 6lb king of 53 countries but would instantly elevate him up the world rankings.

Darlington’s former Commonwealth champ Stuart Hall will fight for the IBF title next month in Leeds but Ward says he would be foolish to look beyond his date with Laryea.

“World titles may come,” Ward told SportMail. “But there is only one thing on my mind – to put on a good show and beat Laryea.

“Whatever comes after that comes.

“But we’ve got to get it right – I have to perform against Laryea.”

Ward did not disgrace himself in his first attempt at winning a major crown when he was stopped in five rounds by Lee Haskins in Bristol back in April for the vacant British title.

But the fact that he lost still needls the Dave Garside and Neil Fannan star.

“I need to put things right from the Haskins fight,” said the 25-year-old. “I still thought I boxed petty well against a world-class opponent.

“But I need to prove to people that I am championship level and to do that I need to perform next Saturday.

“I’m looking forward to doing that.

“Training has gone well – I feel fine, the weight’s not a problem.

“I’m looking forward to winning that belt.”

Ward leads a strong Hartlepool assault at the Centre for Sport in Newcastle west end.

Younger brother and Garside/Fannan team-mate, Tommy, tackles Sheffield’s Qasim Hussain next Saturday.

Fannan-trained light-heavyweight Robert Ismay also has Sheffield opposition, against Lee Duncan.

Unbeaten Gus Robinson Developments pair Peter Cope and Anth Hardy are also in action.

l FOR ticket info, contact Neil on 07891101399