Martin Ward says friendship will go out the window when he locks horns with James “Jazza” Dickens

Martin Ward
Martin Ward

Martin Ward says friendship will go out the window when he locks horns with James “Jazza” Dickens on Friday night.

Champion Dickens defends his British super-bantamweight title for the first time when he fights his old Great Britain amateur team-mate at the Rainton Meadows Arena.

The Liverpool boxer, as champion, will start as the marginal favourite, though, while it sounds a promoter’s cliche, it looks every inch a 50-50 bout.

And while West Rainton fighter Ward admits the pair are friendly, rather than best friends, he said he will not allow any sentiment to get in his way at the Houghton venue.

“I wouldn’t say we are best mates,” smiled the former Commonwealth champion, who boasts an impressive career record of 22 wins, one draw and just the two defeats.

“I know him well, if I was at a show he was at, I would never walk past him, I’d stand and have a chat with him.

“I think he’s a helluva nice lad.

“But business is business – he’s the man standing in my way of becoming British champion and number one European contender.

“Let’s get it on, we’re in a 12x12 boxing ring and I can’t wait.

“I know I’m always confident, but I do believe I have the capabilities of beating him.

“But, win, lose or draw, I’ll be shaking his hand afterwards.”

Ward is confident he can turn on the style to beat the 24-year-old, from Liverpool, who has lost only once in 21 appearances.

The Neil Fannan-trained southpaw says he is feeling as fit, sharp and happy as he has ever been.

Boxers are always having to go without the sort of things us non-athletes rather take for granted.

And Ward joked that such is his determination to become British champion he has made the ultimate sacrifice – cola and sweets.

“Neil seems to think it’s the best camp I’ve had,” said the 27-year-old.

“I love my fizzy pop and a bit of chocolate – I’ve had none of that for the last six weeks.

“I do feel the best I’ve ever felt. I hope can now prove that.

“I’ll be doing everything in my power, 110 per cent as I always do.”

The two title rivals will meet at the Rainton Meadows Arena tomorrow afternoon for the weigh-in at 2pm.

However, expect them to weigh somewhere in the region of seven or eight pounds heavier on the night itself when they climb through the ropes.

A Ward victory might just be celebrated with something stronger than a bottle of pop.