Boxing: Martin J. Ward celebrates winning British super featherweight title outright with family
- Credit: Archant
Former Repton amateur now has the Lonsdale belt for keeps
It was a family affair as Martin J. Ward celebrated his title triumph in the Wembley Arena ring on Saturday night, keeping his British crown to win the Lonsdale belt outright and add the vacant Commonwealth super featherweight title.
Brother Bobby carried him around the ring while father Martin Snr. and younger brother Johnny celebrated the moment their man was given a tight, but unanimous verdict over unbeaten Belfast battler Anthony Cacace.
Some fighting clan are the Ward boys; Bobby is still remembered as the last English boxer to defeat Amir Khan, while former national schools champion Johnny retired with an undefeated record.
Martin Jr. insisted: “Saturday was a night I will never forget, beating a good fighter to win the Lonsdale belt outright and take the vacant Commonwealth title, with a big thanks to the fans who came out and supported me.”
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The talented 26-year-old former Repton amateur star has come through setbacks, turning pro after being ignored for the London Olympics and shaking off serious injuries suffered in a shotgun attack, to make his boxing dream come true.
He rated Cacace as his toughest challenge yet and so it proved as the long-armed Northern Irish southpaw fired accurate jabs from a distance to the delight of his fans.
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However, ring technician Ward soon found his way past the jabs to fire his effective close range attacks as the bout swayed between the pair with, almost every round closely contested.
Cacace predicted Ward’s stamina was suspect and he would fade over the later stages of a hard championship clash.
However, it proved the opposite with the champion showing the superior staying power to score decisive points in the closing exchanges.
The Wembley Arena crowd anticipated a tight result while both men celebrated with their cornermen as if confident of victory, before the judges scoring went in Ward’s favour by 115-114, 116-114, and 116-113.
The margin was narrow, but the smile on Ward’s face was wide as he said: “I owe a lot to my trainer Tony Sims who had me in great shape and the whole team behind me.”
Ward will hope he can now add international and world belts to his list of honours after Saturday’s success.