June 19 2013 Latest news:
By Len Whaley, Boxing correspondent
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Ward looking to rise up the pro-ranks after being surprise absentee from Team GB boxing team.
While the ring battles for Olympic Games glory are taking place at the ExCel Arena in Docklands, Martin Ward, the boxer the GB selectors surprisingly ignored, has been busy preparing for his pro debut next month.
The talented lightweight, who built his amateur career at Dagenham BC and Repton, has been training hard at Tony Sims Hainault gym getting in shape for his pro start at the Alexandra Palace on September 8 with a second contest scheduled in Belfast just two weeks later.
After years of being groomed for the Games and winning awards on the international circuit, the boxer was denied his chance of a lifetime – as the 60kg lightweight berth was awarded to Scot Josh Taylor, twice beaten by Ward in earlier bouts.
The Scot was the first GB boxer to make an exit from the Games tournament, beaten by Italian Domenico Valentino in his last 16 bout at the ExCel last week.
The 20-year-old Ward has signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Sport, and the former European Youth champion who had set his sights on winning a 2012 gold medal in London, is not dwelling on the disappointment.
“That’s all in the past now, I am looking forward to climbing the ranks as a pro,” said the boxer who is billed as Martin J Ward.
“I can only say it was great training with the GB squad and boxing some of the top names on the international scene.
“It’s been a superb experience and sets me up for my pro campaign,” Ward added.
He can certainly take inspiration from the success of his training partners at Sims’ gym – including world title challenger Darren Barker, former British champion Lee Purdy and fast-rising pro John Ryder - all booked to appear on the Matchroom bill that will launch the new London boxing season on a high note.
Barker returns to action against experienced Italian Simone Rotolo on the bill which also features Liverpudlian banger Tony Bellew against Colombian Edison Miranda.
Also set for action on the north London show are unbeaten local prospects Ryan Taylor and Wadi Camacho.
Ward’s supporting bout will be just the start of some hectic action for the new pro with his second clash scheduled on the Matchroom bill at Belfast’s Odyssey Arena, on September 22.
Matchroom Sport boxing boss Eddie Hearn wants to keep him busy and predicts a bright future: “In my opinion, Martin is one of the most exceptional talents this country has produced,” he said.