Ward off the mark as Khan caps rise

On the same night that former rival Amir Khan clinched a world title in Manchester, Bobby Ward was putting the first win on his pro record

On the same night that the boxer he once defeated, Amir Khan, clinched a world title at the MEN Arena in Manchester, former Repton amateur Bobby Ward was putting the first win on his pro record in a low-key contest at York Hall.

Ward and Khan recorded a win apiece in their two amateur meetings a decade ago, and the former schoolboy rivals both recorded good points victories in their latest ring appearances on Saturday.

But while Khan's victory over Andreas Kotelnik completed a rise to stardom that began with his silver medal success at the Athens Olympic in 2004, Ward's win marked a return to winning ways following a five-year break from boxing.

And after his pro career started with a controversial draw in his debut at Wigan last month, Ward was simply relieved to collect a maiden victory after beating experienced campaigner Sid Razak.

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In an impressive display, Ward won every round against an opponent who had tested former British champion Martin Power during a tough tussle in the same Bethnal Green ring less than three weeks earlier.

But Ward, nicknamed Boogaloo after the famous American middleweight Bobby Watts, punched too fast and too often for Razak, as the former Repton ace switched his attacks from body to head throughout the contest.

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Razak was shaken more than once by powerful left hooks but the battle-hardened Midlander, who has earned a reputation for durability in his eight-year paid career, survived the full distance.

At the final bell, referee Mark Green raised Ward's glove, scoring him the winner of every round.

"It was good to see Bobby get the verdict he deserved this time - especially after his debut when the referee was the only person who scored it a draw," said trainer Tony Sims.

Ward is now gearing up for a third pro contest, which looks set to take place on the undercard of the Hennessy Sports promotion at Alexandra Palace on September 5, which will see Darren Barker, another former Repton star, challenge for the British title.

In an eagerly awaited showdown scheduled for the Wood Green venue, undefeated Commonwealth middleweight title-holder Barker faces Birmingham's Britsh champion Matthew Macklin, who has lost two of his 26 paid contests.

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