Can Steve Ward retire with a new world record and a world title in Mansfield finale?
The world's oldest boxer, Mansfield's Steve Ward, is aiming to bow out with a world title in front of his home crowd just six days before he is forced to retire at the age of 65.
Heavyweight Ward has had two fights fall through this year and was starting to think his hopes of a last hurrah - and yet another Guinness world record – would pass him by.
But he has now agreed to slim down to cruiserweight and fight Romanian Adrian Parlogea – 15 years his junior – for the inaugural World Legends Boxing World Cruiserweight Championship at Mansfield Rugby Club on Friday, 6th August.
“I have only got until 12th August and I am 65, then you can't fight any more. I thought I am going to end up walking away if people are not right with me,” he said.
“But then this one came along – and it's everything I wanted.
“My opponent will just be inside the 50-65 category at 50 and I will be just on the pinnacle as I will be 65 years and 359 days old. So that will be another Guinness record.
“I have made one or two comebacks but this time it can't happen any more due to age – it beats us all doesn't it?
“I would love to go out winning a world title in front of my home crowd. It's going to be fantastic. I can't wait and I am really excited about it all.”
Ward has had no problem bringing his size down for the required weight.
“I do a 12-15 miles run in the morning before I go to work,” he said.
“I do four hours at work, back out for more training. I have an hour's rest and then at night I do more training. And I am doing it seven days a week.
“I feel fantastic and I have knocked off two stone in two and a half weeks. That would be a one off at Slimming World if I went there! But I have had to do it.
“I was coming in at 16st 6oz at heavyweight. Now I am 14st 6lb and two just pounds above the weight limit. So I can do that quite easily now.
“I am so fit now and still have another six weeks to get better still – I am going to waste this guy.”
He added: “We will see what he's got in the first round and then from the second round on the big ones are coming.
“I am not worried at all. I am never nervous. Let him do the worrying. For once I am fighting someone shorter than myself. Normally they are about 8ins bigger so it will be nice.
“I have got the buzz now and it's still six weeks away - so God knows what it will be like on the day!
“I don't know very much about him and, to be honest, I have told them I don't want to know very much. I will find out everything I need to know in that first round.
“I would sooner do it that way or I would be thinking all the time should I do this or that? Let it play itself out and see how the first round goes and then develop into the second and start what I want to do.”
Ward was initially due to fight Jimmy Lloyd on a cruise ship off Barbados. But that fight turned out to be pie in the sky.
“The honest truth is the 'multi-millionaire' who was setting it all up turned out to be a scam artist,” said Ward.
Then a proposed fight in Cyprus was wrecked due to the Covid restrictions.
But now Ward has the perfect chance to bow out in Mansfield and smiled: “Once again it's for my wife Lucy, for Mansfield and for Queen and country.
“The flags will be flying. All my girls will be coming down in Union Jack swimming costumes, taking me down to the ring.
“I will be in Union Jack shorts and gown. I am very patriotic.
“We will all stand for the national anthem in the ring and then we will get it on.”
Doors open at 7pm with boxing starting at 8pm and tickets are on sale now at tickettailor.com.