Martin J. Ward faces a big step-up in class when he defends his WBC international super-featherweight title against former World title challenger Daniel Diaz at the KC Lightstream Stadium in Hull on August 1, live on Sky Sports.
Ward landed the title in April when he forced the retirement of Maxi Hughes halfway through their rematch following a draw in December in a British title eliminator.
Diaz challenged for the WBA World bantamweight crown in May 2011 taking on Koki Kameda in Japan, and Ward believes now is the right time to test himself against the experienced Nicaraguan.
“These are the fights are exactly what I need and exactly what I wanted at this stage of my career,” said Ward. “A former World title challenger is going to bring the best out in me and I’m in for a tough night in Hull, but I’m relishing the opportunity to test myself at this level.
“I’m really up for this fight next Saturday – I’m confident I’ll get the win and look great doing it.
“People always say how much they have a good camp, a great camp – we always have a hard camp down here, we train our nuts off regularly. I’ve got to put all the work, everything we’ve practiced in the gym on fight night – make sure it’s all been worthwhile.
“Once I get this fight out of the way, I feel I’ve got much more to learn and develop before I’m the finished article. I’m in the gym training alongside a two-time World champion in Ricky Burns and a World title challenger in Kevin Mitchell – I’m learning all the time from these guys.
“I’ve got my eyes on the British title in the short term. Liam Walsh holds it but his last fight he boxed at Lightweight so I’m not sure what he’s doing – but I want that belt.
“I’ve moved down from lightweight and to be truthful I wasn’t doing a great deal of dieting at the weight – I just lacked that little bit of man strength. I’ve been at super-featherweight for about a year now and my body has adapted to it well, I’m a big strong super-featherweight and I’m confident I could beat anyone in this division.”
Ward’s clash with Diaz is part of a massive night of action in Hull topped by the all-Hull WBC World lightweight title official eliminator between Luke Campbell MBE and Tommy Coyle.
Former World title challenger Brian Rose faces a rematch with American danger man Carson Jones, former two-weight World champion Ricky Burns back in action after his heroic performance in Texas against Omar Figueroa and unbeaten Brixton heavyweight Dillian Whyte in action.