TOMMY Ward is set for a night out in Blackpool – but it is not going to be all-pleasure.
The unbeaten Hartlepool boxer is to fight tough Eastern European campaigner George Gachechiladze on Friday, February 7.
Ward has made a perfect start to his professional career, reeling off 11 straight wins to be rated in Great Britain’s top 15.
But coach Neil Fannan says the six-rounder with the 28-year-old Georgian will be no cakewalk at the Village Urban Resort.
“George has fought all the top men,” Fannan told SportMail.
“Yes, some have stopped him, but he comes for a battle and we want boxers who come and have a go.
“I don’t like using the expression knock-off jobs, but Tommy has gone past that stage.
“His last bout in Sheffield was a great fight and this will be a good contest.
“I was offered someone else for Blackpool who, on paper, was an easier opponent.
“But that’s not what we want.”
Ward has already seen Gachechiladze at close quarters – he was at ringside when big brother Martin defeated him at Rainton Meadows Arena in May 2012.
The elder Ward halted him in the eighth but he was given a serious examination by Georgia’s number one.
“Martin caught him with a body shot and the ref stopped it,” said Fannan.
“But it was a good fight and I want to see Tommy extended.”
Gachechiladze has a fair record of 16 wins, with the same number of defeats and, at 28, is certainly not over the hill. Tommy Ward, eight years his junior, is flying and impressed at Hillsborough Leisure Centre last month when he outpointed Plymouth’s Chris Adaway over six lively rounds.
Fannan says the plan is for more fights of that calibre for the Dave Garside-managed featherweight.
“The plan is to keep Tommy busy,” said the trainer. “He boxed in December and he’s going to be out in February and March and we have irons in the fire for April.
“Then we’re looking for something good at the Stadium of Light in July for the Summer Rumble.