Tommy Ward eyes world honours as he vacates British strap to hand brother Martin Ward 'vacant' title contest

Tommy Ward with his British title.
Tommy Ward with his British title.

Hartlepool-trained super bantamweight Tommy Ward has vacated his British title, meaning his clash with James Dickens next month is OFF.

But Ward remains on the July 27 bill, taking on Ionut Baluta for the IBF intercontinental title as he pursues world honours, rather than return to fights with old foes.

Josh Kelly - Sunderland's Commonwealth welterweight champion

Josh Kelly - Sunderland's Commonwealth welterweight champion

And in a further twist his brother Martin Ward has stepped in to plug the gap and will rematch Dickens as chief support to his younger brother's title tilt.

Confirming the change, a statement on the British Boxing Board of Control website read: "Following Thomas Patrick Ward vacating the Championship the Stewards have approved the above contest to be promoted by Dennis Hobson, which will take place on Friday, 27th July 2018 at Rainton Meadows. The winner to waive grace and defend when called upon to do so."

Dickens was awarded a split decision against Martin Ward back in 2015, while brother Tommy avenged his sibling's defeat in May last year.

Both fight's will take place at the Rainton Meadows Arena on Friday, July 27.

Meanwhile, Sunderland's Josh Kelly could make his debut stateside as Eddie Hearn aims to grow the PBK brand on a global scale.

The welterweight won his second belt in just seven professional fights, beating titlist Kris George in a typically slick fashion at Newcastle's Metro Radio Arena last time out.

And having dispatched of the Aussie on 'home' turf, 'Pretty Boy' could be set to go to the USA next, as promoter Hearn eyes world domination for the 24-year-old.

"He's Commonwealth champion, WBA International champion, ranked in the top 15 in the word and is breezing through the opposition," said Hearn of the former Team GB Rio 2016 Olympian, who turns 25 next week.

"I say it is a worry, but we have to wonder, where do you stop? Where do you slow him down?

"Adam [Booth] will be the one to decide the pace. I trust him implicitly. He will be the one telling me 'this guy, this guy or this guy'.

"I am sure there will come a point where he decides we need to flatline, go to America or do something different.

"The refreshing thing is the pace he is moving. We live in a world now where fans are so impatient. They just want everything now.

"It's like fans are saying - 'well that was good from Josh Kelly, c'mon, get him moving'. Sometimes you have to listen to what is right for the fighter's career and not listen to the noise."