CRAIG JOHNS BREAKS THE FIRST RULE Plenty to look forward to for boxing brothers
TWENTY NINETEEN will be the year of the Ward brothers.
That is the hope of younger sibling Thomas as he targets world titles in 2019.
The Durham super bantamweight has his final fight of 2018 on November 24 at the Lancastrian Suite on the Christmas Cracker show co-promoted by Phil Jeffries and Steve Wraith.
A week earlier, on Friday, his brother Martin boxes on the Black Flash Promotions show at the same venue and will have his first fight at his new weight of featherweight.
For Thomas, an ex-British champion who is ranked with most world organisations, he is now just waiting for his opportunity to come for a world title.
Later this month he’ll have another keep-busy bout, much like he did on the recent Metro Radio Arena show featuring Lewis Ritson.
That night, despite his lofty ranking, he had to settle for an early pre-televised bout meaning many of his fans missed it by the time they got into the arena. He blasted out his opponent Tom Tran in one round.
He said: “It wasn’t frustrating for me because I just love to fight and it was just an honour to box on a show like that.
“It was my fans who I felt sorry for because quite a lot of them missed it, and also I imagine some North East boxing fans who didn’t buy a ticket from me, but no doubt were looking forward to watching me, as well as many others.
“It is what it is, though. That’s boxing and it was a new experience for me, being a float and not knowing when I was going on and just needing to be ready whenever. Dealing with that adversity will stand me in good stead going forward.
“I enjoyed the fight. The body shot that took him out is one you usually land in sparring and dream of landing in an actual fight. Thankfully I did this time and I can’t imagine many will be able to stay up if they’re caught with a shot like that.”
He added: “Obviously my ultimate goal is to box for world titles, but it’s a waiting game and I don’t want to go stale Thomas Ward (right) wins the Super-Bantamweight contest against Tom Tran at Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle. (Top right) Thomas with brother Martin while I’m waiting. I just love boxing and love fighting, so when the opportunity came up to get on this card in Dunston I jumped at it.
“Sure you can spar, but ultimately, in terms of having your timing right being in the best shape possible going into a major fight, nothing quite beats the feel of a real fight, and I’m looking to just stay active later this month.
“Give me an opportunity to fight and I’ll take it because I love it. I’m sure when the world title opportunity comes along we’ll be more than ready.”
Thomas’ older brother Martin has always been somewhat of an inspiration for him.
Martin won English and Commonwealth titles at super bantamweight, but the British title which Thomas ultimately won has always eluded the elder Ward.
But moving up to featherweight for the first time next Friday on the Black Flash Promotions show, the younger Ward is sure Martin still has plenty to offer.
“I’ll be there supporting Martin for sure,” Thomas said.
“I think the move up the featherweight will really suit him. He got back into the gym recently and just reassessed everything and they looked closely at his weight.
“He’s not getting any younger and with that it becomes harder to get weight off.
“I believe he’ll be a force at the new weight and it will be great to see him back out there next weekend.”
So the future looks bright for the Ward brothers?
“Absolutely,” Thomas says. “Next year will be a big year for both of us.
“There will be plenty of opportunities come up for Martin at featherweight if he keeps on winning.
“And similarly me, I just have to keep on winning and I know my chance at a world title will come.
“I have full faith in my team of Neil Fannon, Dave Garside and Phil Jeffries to deliver me that world title fight. They know my ambitions and they know my goals, they’ve never let me down before.
“The good thing is in 2019 we have a full year to put ourselves in place for it. If they come back and say you need to fight him to get a world title shot then we will be ready and we will fight whoever they want.
“I’m confident and I believe it is my destiny to be world champion.”
Twenty nineteen – hopefully the year of the boxing Ward brothers.