Mansfield boxer Steve Ward’s incredible story continues as he won his comeback fight in emphatic fashion to secure a shot at the British Masters title on 8th November in what will be a ‘grudge match’.
Steve, the world’s oldest boxer at 58, was the headline act as fight fans packed Mansfield Civic Centre for a 12-fight semi-pro bill, promoted by Body and Soul gym owner Roger Brotherhood.
And the man known as ‘The Legend’ says the title fight will be personal against Darren Snow - a boxer he respects but who has upset him enough to don the gloves again.
“I was forced out of retirement really,” he said. “I was quite happy retired, though I’ve not got to the pipe and slippers stage. But I was doing some judging and one guy, who is a champion, was doing an exhibition with two lads, who had done some sparring, but were fighting in public for the first time.
“All he had to do was flick his hand out, move around and make himself look good. But he put one of them down and bumped the other one around and I didn’t like what I was seeing. I couldn’t let it go as, after 49 years, I don’t like to see my sport come to grief.
“So I said to them I think it’s time the Legend came back out of retirement and had a chance to fight him myself.
“I held belts when I retired but I still had to have a final eliminator which I won in the second round. Now we will fight on 8th November and the big guns are out.
“It will be a war. I do respect Darren Snow – he is a good fighter and it will not be easy as I am 30 years older than him.
“This will be my last fight, though. I can still get up and run 15 miles before doing two hours in the gym. But now I need a sit-down afterwards and it’s my body telling me it’s getting harder.”
In his first fight for over three years last week, Ward made an explosive entrance, being guided to the ring by four women in Union Jack bikinis to the thumping soundtrack of Hearts on Fire from the Rocky 4 film.
And the ending was not unlike a Sylvester Stallone script as Ward’s punches wore down and stopped game opponent Dwayne Allen from Wigan early in the second round.
Ward, representing Team Body and Soul on the night, will now fight for the vacant British Masters cruiserweight title against Snow on the gym’s next show, at the Civic Centre on 8th November.
In the night’s other British Masters title eliminator in Mansfield, super-middleweight Ian Clarke edged past Lions Park’s David Mayhew after four rounds.
An exciting fight, the decision could’ve gone either way but judges’ scoring ringside picked sharp shooting Clarke, who will go to battle with Sleaford’s hard-hitting Dan Cooper for the Masters belt, also on 8th November.
Body and Soul’s well-supported Charlie Chiverton made a successful return to the ring as he stopped Team Pride’s Scott Aitken in the second round. There was also a second round stoppage win for Body and Soul’s Nigel Gibson who halted Manchester’s Liam Crawley in a heavyweight clash and Nick Golubs beat Stockport’s tough Will Cairns in the third.
Body and Soul’s Josh Boucher was narrowly outpointed by Hard Knock’s accomplished Myles O’ Connor, and battle-hardened Henry Rooney was stopped in the final stages of an all-action bout against talented Jerrall Spencer from Hunter’s Gym.
Body and Soul’s Danny Goodwin put in a measured performance to outscore Birmingham’s experienced Andrew Costnett and Wes Dolan decisioned Conner Tongue from Fighting Fit in the fight of the night.
Elsewhere, Body and Soul’s Adam Gostowski stopped Dylan Edwards with a barrage of punches in the first round and heavyweights Dom Allcock and Fighting Fit’s Darren Snow boxed a draw, as did Body and Soul gym mates Martin Day and Simon Stuart who opened the show with an entertaining exhibition bout.
Tickets to Body and Soul’s blockbuster November show are available on 01623 481881 and are expected to sell out quickly.