Boxing has been wracked with controversy over the past month – but Martin Ward says he has faith in the officials to deliver a fair decision at the Borough Hall.
The Hartlepool fighter challenges for Abigail Medina’s European super-bantamweight title tonight at the famous Headland venue.
Two high-profile world championship contests have ended in uproar over the past two weekends.
Firstly, Canelo Alvarez ‘s super-fight with Gennady Golovkin was scored as a draw in Las Vegas.
One ringside judge, had Canelo a mile ahead on her scorecard despite the overwhelming consensus that the Kazakh had the better of the fight.
And there was anger last Saturday, when Joseph Parker retained his WBO heavyweight title in Manchester against Hughie Fury.
One judge could not separate the rivals, but the other two officials marked it for the Kiwi 118-10, prompting Fury’s manager, Mick Hennessy, to make accusations over “corruption at the highest level”.
Ward says he expects nothing but an honest verdict from the three European judges at the Borough Hall tonight – Ernst Salzgeber (Austria), Belgium’s Brahim Aadi and Freddy Rafn (Denmark).
“I thought Fury was well beaten,” said Ward. “Two judges had it 118-110, I had it 116-112 – eight rounds to four.
“Fury didn’t do enough – to win titles from champions you have to take it from them, they don’t just give you it.”
And Ward says his relationship with coach Neil Fannan means they can clinch the right tactics, performance and result.
“The first three minutes of every fight are mine,” said Ward.
“After that, it’s Fanno’s job, he will tell me what to do.
“If what we do doesn’t work, he won’t blame me and I won’t blame him.
“Fury’s dad was telling him ‘you’re not doing enough’ and Hughie continued to do the same thing, why would he box like that if it wasn’t working?
“Neil knows if he tells me ‘we need to do more, we need to get on him’ then I’ll do it.
“If I need to I will take Medina into deep water and try to drown him.”
Tonight’s England v Spain confrontation is Ward’s sixth title bout, having won two, lost two, with the other, a challenge for the IBF world title ending in a draw after the contest was stopped for a bad cut.
Ward has not had the best of luck in championship action and his split decision defeat to Jazza Dickens for the British title in November 2015 was a case in point.
Phil Edwards scored it to Dickens by three points, Dave Parris had Ward in front by four while Howard Foster gave it to the champ by a single round.
“You might disagree with their verdict, but you can’t grumble at the judges, it’s how they see it,” he said.
“Everyone sees fights differently, even among us, when I fought Dickens, you had Jazza by a couple of rounds, yet I thought I won by a couple and Fanno had us level!
“That’s three of us with three different scores.
“Whatever happens, I’ll take the decision gracefully and shake his hands, there will be no regrets, no excuses.
“He’s a good lad, he’s a worthy European champion, but come tonight I believe I’m good enough to be wearing that belt in the Borough Hall.”