CRAIG JOHNS BREAKS THE FIRST RULE Plenty to look for­ward to for boxing broth­ers

Sunday Sun - - Boxing -

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.

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