Martin J Ward hopes that a standout performance against Mexico's Jesus Amparan at the FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield this Saturday February 8, shown live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US, will get the ball rolling for a shot at one of the 130lbs World Titles in 2020.
Kell Brook (38-2, 26 KOs) will be aiming to shake off the ring rust and fire his name back into the mix for a Word Title shot in 2020 when he meets the USA’s Mark DeLuca (24-1, 13 KOs), Kid Galahad (26-1, 15 KOs) takes on Claudio Marrero (24-3, 17 KOs) in a Final Eliminator for the IBF Featherweight crown, Terri Harper (9-0, 5 KOs) clashes with Finland’s Eva Wahlstrom (23-1-2, 3 KOs) in a unification for the WBC and IBO Super-Featherweight World Titles, Anthony Tomlinson (11-0, 6 KOs) takes on Stewart Burt (13-1-1, 1 KO) in an Eliminator for the British and Commonwealth Welterweight titles, Dave Allen (17-5-2, 14 KOs) makes his long-awaited return after eight months out of the ring, Super-Middleweight John Docherty (7-0, 5 KO) continues his march towards a first title, Leeds Featherweight Hopey Price (2-0, 1 KO) looks to go 3-0 and Sheffield Light-Heavyweight Callum Beardow (1-0) fights for the second time as a pro.
Former European Super-Featherweight Champion Ward (23-1-2, 11 KOs) is undefeated in four fights since suffering his sole career loss to IBF World Title challenger James Tennyson back in May 2018, claiming the WBC Silver International crown against Devis Boschiero in Italy and stopping Josue Bendana in his last fight.
The Tony Sims-trained fighter is desperate for a shot at World honours having earned his stripes by taking the 'traditional' route, winning the British, Commonwealth and European titles since turning over in 2012. 'Wardy' believes that a World Title shot is on the horizon and admits any slip ups in Sheffield would be disastrous for him.
“I’m 28 years of age and I truly believe this year I will get my shot at a World Title and win a World Title," said Ward. "That’s what it’s all about, that’s my main goal since I’ve been in boxing from the age of 8. I really feel like I’m going to have a good year this year.
"I’m going to stay in the gym, stay dedicated, keep on working hard as I do all of the time and the rewards will come. After this fight I want my shot at a World Title. I want to get this fight out of the way and look good. Hopefully we can get a title shot pencilled in after.
“I’ve got one eye on the guys that have the titles but I’ve been in camp for Jesus Amparan and my full attention is on him. There will be no slip-ups, none at all. I’m concentrating on getting the job done on him and looking good doing it."
Talk of World Titles will come to a shuddering halt if Ward fails to impress against Amparan, a hungry 23-year-old with 14 big knockouts from 16 career wins, but Ward insists that he's done his homework on 'Toro' and won't be underestimating him in the slightest.
“He’s a big puncher, I had a little watch of him. He’s a typical Mexican fighter, all off the left hand work, it’s going to make for a good exciting fight. I need these guys coming to win to bring out the best in me and it’s a good test.
“If the stoppage comes it comes, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. He carries power as his record suggests but my speed is going to be a big factor in this fight. I’m going to put on a dominant performance so I’ve got the right to call out these big names for my next fight.
“I’ve been working a lot on my speed and putting my punches together with a different variety of shots. I’m going to put on an exciting performance. You’re going to see a better version of me, a faster version of me. I’m going to be dangerous on fight night. The big fights are coming, trust me."
Ward has picked out Argentina's WBA title holder Rene Alverado as a potential opponent in 2020. 'Gemelo' broke down and stopped Andrew Cancio in seven rounds at the Fantasy Springs Casino Resort in November to earn the title.
“Andrew Cancio was beaten by Rene Alverado at the back end of last year. Alverado is with Golden Boy. That’s definitely a fight that could happen. Matchroom and Golden Boy are working together with DAZN so that’s definitely a fight that could happen this year. Hopefully I can look good in this next fight and put myself in line for a shot at one of these champions."
Ward vs. Amparan is part of a huge night of action in Sheffield.