Boxing: Ward ends year as European champion
PUBLISHED: 09:00 15 December 2017
Magnificent Martin J Ward crowned a great year by claiming the European super-featherweight title at Bethnal Green's York Hall on Wednesday.
The boxer, from the Navestock traveller site, unleashed a savage assault in the sixth round to knockout Spain’s former champion Juli Giner in their battle for the vacant title.
And Ward insisted he is ready to move into the world title picture, which seems the obvious step after a year in which he has defended his British title to make the Lonsdale belt his own and also won Commonwealthh and European crowns.
The 26-year-old smiled as family members celebrated his victory, proudly displaying his various belts as the York Hall fans roared their approval of his victory.
“I have beaten some good men to win these belts, now I want to go for world titles. I will fight anybody,” said the muti-titled boxer, who won a string of amateur awards at Bethnal Green’s Repton BC.
Ward, known for his boxing skills, showed plenty as he built up a good lead against the well-muscled Spaniard who boasted a good record against some of Europe’s top super-featherweights and had only suffered one previous inside-the-distance defeat.
Although the home favourite jabbed his way into a good lead his rival threatened with powerful hooks in an intriguing battle.
However, in the sixth round Ward turned on the power, landing a savage left hook to send his rival crashing to the canvas for a long count.
Giner gamely tried to swing back, but Ward looked lethal and seized the opening for a powerful right that sent the Spaniard down and out as the Italian referee signalled the end after one minute 30 seconds.
“It was a career best performance – Martin is ready to move up against the best men in a very competetive division,” said promoter Eddie Hearn.
Champion Ward also paid tribute to the work of his coach, east Londoner Tony Sims, adding: “I’m just listening to this man and carrying out what he teaches me.”