'Olympic snub will spur me on' insists boxer Martin Ward
PUBLISHED: 18:15 19 June 2012 | UPDATED: 11:56 21 June 2012
Martin Ward insists his snub by the 2012 Olympics selectors, in favour of a boxer he has twice defeated, can help his bid for success in the pro ranks which starts with his debut under the Matchroom banner in September.
After years of being groomed for the Games and winning medals on the international circuit, the boxer who built his amateur career at Dagenham BC and Repton was denied his chance of a lifetime – as the 60kg lightweight berth was awarded to Scot Josh Taylor, twice beaten by Ward.
The GB podium star was shocked when he did not get the expected last chance to box in the final qualification tournament in Turkey in April, but he is putting that disappointment behind him as he looks forward to making the professional grade.
The 20-year-old Ward has signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Sport, and will be a member of the Hainault-based stable trained by east Londoner Tony Sims, preparing to make his debut at the Alexandra Palace on September 8.
Ward, a European Youth champion who had set his sights on winning a 2012 gold medal, is not dwelling on the disappointment: “That’s all in the past now, I am looking forward to climbing the ranks as a pro,” he said.
“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 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.
“It’s a fantastic place to begin your career,” said Ward. “Darren has fought for a world title and is a class act, Lee is as tough and tenacious as they come and John has clearly learnt from being in the gym – so I can’t wait to get going.”
All these boxers are scheduled to appear on the Matchroom bill that will launch the new London boxing season on a high note.
It will be the start of some hectic action for the new pro as Matchroom Sport boxing boss Eddie Hearn predicts he will be boxing at least seven times a year.
“Martin has bags of experience and in my opinion he is one of the most exceptional talents this country has produced.
“We will be putting all our resources into ensuring he reaches his full potential,” enthuses Hearn.