It’s the most prestigious belt in boxing - every British fighter dreams of winning the Lonsdale Belt.
So, it’s no surprise that North East fighter Tommy Ward found it a hard decision to vacate his British Super Bantamweight Title.
Ward beat Liverpool’s Jazza Dickens for the domestic crown last year, but has decided to give up the belt in pursuit of world honours.
Headlining at the Rainton Meadows Arena this Friday, the County Durham fighter makes his first foray onto the international scene when he fights Spain’s Alvaro Rodriguez for the vacant IBF European Super Bantamweight Title.
“It was a hard decision to give up the British Title, but I talked to my team, Dave Garside and Neil Fannan, and we decided it was the right way to go.
“There were a lot of issues going on behind closed doors that people don’t know about.
“So, the decision was made to vacate and move onto world honours, push towards world titles. That’s the best route forwards.”
The skilful 24-year-old has plenty of boxing insiders believing he can go all the way to the top.
Although he knows little about his Spanish opponent, Tommy is pleased to be topping the Dennis Hobson show on home turf, and wants to put on a world class performance in front of the TV cameras.
“I really don’t know anything about Rodriguez. He’s supposed to be a tough Spaniard, but I’ll go in there and be the best I can be.
“If I perform I believe I can beat anybody, and I don’t see this being any different. I’ve had a really good training camp, sparring’s gone well and I’m looking forward to it.
“Obviously, you don’t know what to expect with unknown opponents. I don’t know if he can punch through a wall, or if he’s tricky or skillful. All I know is that you can expect the best of me.
“I’ve come on loads, and unless he’s got dynamite in his hands then he’s going to need a lot more to beat me.
“I believe I’m ready for the world stage now. I’ve obviously proved I’m British level. I beat Jazza Dickens and, despite the ending, thought I beat him comfortably.
“Also, that was a while ago and I’ve improved since then and I’ve filled out more.
“So, I’ve showed I’ve got the ability and skill, and if Jazza can fight for a world title then I don’t see any reason why I can’t.
“I’m ready to test myself at world level and see where I’m at.” Dennis Hobson Promotions, in association with Phil Jeffries and Dave Garside and sponsored by Steve Crump, presents Thomas Ward fighting Alvaro Rodrigues for the IBF European Super Bantamweight Title, at the Rainton Meadows Arena this Friday.
The show will be broadcast live on Freesports. For ticket info contact 07747 611 020.