Boxing’s gifted Ward brothers enjoyed their Summer – now they can’t wait for winter.
Tommy and Martin are both counting down the months for championship challenges as they look to finish 2016 with super-bantamweight titles.
I’m hoping both will be fighting for titles by the end of the yearNEIL FANNAN
Their coach, Neil Fannan, hopes Tommy will this week be made mandatory challenger for the British crown, held by Jazza Dickens, who beat elder sibling, Martin, in his maiden defence last November.
And Fannan is keeping his fingers crossed that the European Boxing Union orders Jeremy Parodi to defend his EU strap against Martin after a bid to tempt him to defend at the Stadium of Light failed.
Fannan told SportMail: “I’m hoping both will be fighting for titles by the end of the year.
“Robert Smith [general secretary of the British Boxing Board of Control] has indicated Tommy will be made mandatory challenger for Jazza. I fully expect it on Wednesday when the Board meet and I will be more than surprised and disappointed if he isn’t.
“As for Martin, we’ll be reminding the EBU how we tried to make the Parodi fight happen and hoping that their committee order it.”
Both Wards warmed up for the serious stuff by clinching comfortable six-round Summer Rumble victories yesterday against Barcelona-based Nicaraguans at Sunderland’s football ground.
Tommy was the first to perform at the outdoor spectacular, the 22-year-old producing a super-sharp display to beat Elvis Guillen.
Ward was dominant with his left, with some great body hooks the feature.
To be fair, he was not bad with his right glove either, while his movement and footwork ensured that Guillen never got a moment’s peace.
You got the impression had Tommy really put his mind to it that he could have stopped him. But as it was, he put in a superb exhibition of boxing to win 60-54 on the card of referee Steve Hawkins.
They were the same numbers ref Graeme Williams totalled as Martin defeated Renaldo Cajina. The left hand was the dominant tool for the gifted southpaw, happily chopping away from close in.
Cajina landed a right hook in the second, though it did not register even a wince, nor did a neat left upper cut to Ward’s chin in the third.
But it seemed to spur on Martin who upped the pace from then on. He put Cajina on in the fifth though the ref ruled it a low blow.
Ward picked up a cut in the final round which briefly gave Cajina encouragemement but Martin finished with a flourish and some showboating to clinch his 24th career win.
“Martin boxed well, considering those tpe of fights are no good to him,” said Fannan. “He needs big matches, bouts with a bit of fear factor.
“No disrespect to Renalda – he was a pretty tough opponent but he wasn’t really a danger to Martin.”
Martin needed three stitches in his eye wound and will get a fortnight away from the gym, as will his brother, to enjoy a breather.
Tommy produced one of his best displays, with Fannan adding: “He was top class.”