TOMMY WARD’S wait for a crack at the world title must surely be coming to an end. The Co Durham super-bantamweight, rated at four by the WBO for some time, extended his winning sequence to 28 with a masterful performance against Yesner Talavera at the Newcastle Eagles Community Arena.
Ward won all 10 rounds against the former Nicaraguan champion who this summer had gone the distance with Josh Warrington’s IBF featherweight challenger, Sofiane Takoucht.
The left of Ward found the head and body of Talavera every time, with his right equally as sharp.
His judgement of distance, both offensively and defensively, was flawless and given the 25-year-old will be required to go 12 rounds to conquer the world, it was great to see him up the intensity level in the final three rounds.
Referee Ron Kearney scored it 100-90.
Middlesbrough’s ex-Commonwealth gold medalist Simon Vallily made it three stoppage wins on the spin since campaigning at heavyweight.
But his victory over Erik Nazaryan will have left him as frustrated as he was elated, given he never got a full opportunity to display his talents in this scheduled 10-rounder.
Following Andy Ruiz’s humbling of Anthony Joshua, it’s ill-advised to mock a boxer on the wrong side of chubby, but Nazaryan was no “Destroyer”.
The portly Belgian complained repeatedly he was being hit on the back of the head and at the end of round four wanted out, citing a damaged left hand. Ironically, with Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now playing, Mr Kearney reluctantly accepted his retirement.
Andrew Selby’s first UK appearance of 2019, against Fadhili Majiha, had a fascinating look to it and that’s how it transpired.
The 30-year-old was felled twice and fortunate to take a 76-74 victory from referee Darren Maxwell. Several rounds were open to interpretation, but your BN observer scored it 76-74 to the Tanzanian.
Majiha put the Welshman down in the first with a big right with Selby, wisely, taking eight before rising.
It took him until the third to land a meaningful shot but when he did his punches began to match the class of his movement.
Having warmed into the bout, it all unravelled in the sixth when another right sent him to the canvas after being softened up by two heavy Majiha lefts.
Again he was up at eight, and while “Superstar” had his moments in the final two sessions, and was undeterred by a naughty cut above the left eye in the last, Fadhili should have got the nod.
Newcastle’s Joe Laws brought the house down in the concluding contest of MTK’s 12-bout event with a fifth-round stoppage of Driffield’s Danny Little.
Laws needed to show patience against the solid defence of the Yorkshireman, but the weaponry of the “Benwell Bomber” did tell.
A thumping left hook to the body late in the fourth put down Danny, who was happy to hear the bell, but a left hook to the head in the next proved decisive.
Little got off his knees at nine, but referee Kevin McIntyre correctly waved it off at 1-19.
There were two further wins for unbeaten home boxers in the other two six-rounders.
Hyde’s Dale Arrowsmith smiled his way to a 30th loss, goading Chad Ellis to hit him, which the Spennymoor super-welter did with great regularity. Mr McIntrye marked it 60-54.
Redcar’s Tom Hill showed a lot of quality in defeating Jordan Grannum, Mr Kearney giving the Londoner a share of the last in a 60-55 scoreline.
The pick of the four-rounders saw Newcastle’s Terry Wilkinson take a cracking sprint confrontation with Nicaragua’s Danny Mendoza 39-37 (Maxwell).
Bedlington’s Darren Reay clinched his best success to date when he boxed and moved beautifully against an ex-Lewis Ritson foe in Oscar Amador (40-37, McIntyre).
Newcastle’s Basi Razak made a welcome and winning return after a 24-month absence, jabbing nicely to a 40-36 over Bradford’s Naheem Chaudhry from Mr Maxwell.
That was the identical score for Hetton’s Adam Gair, who won at a canter against Derby veteran Elvis Dube (McIntyre) and also Greek-Geordie Alex Farrell, who defeated Bradford’s Saif Zahoor (Kearney).
Gateshead heavyweight Steve Robinson enjoyed a whirlwind debut, decking Shaun Duffy once before a right-left-right combination hurt the Brummie and prompted an astute stoppage by Mr Maxwell at 2-02.
The Verdict North-East fans lap up the class of Ward and love the fireworks from Laws.
Tommy Ward (130 1/2lbs), 28-0 (4), w pts 10 Yesner Talavera (128 3/4lbs), 15-11-1 (4); Simon Vallily (230 1/4lbs), 16-2-1 (7), w rsf 4 Erik Nazaryan (211lbs 5oz), 27-23-4 (20); Andrew Selby (117 1/4lbs), 13-1 (7), w pts 8 Fadhili Majiha (115 3/4lbs), 24-14-4 (11); Joe Laws (152 3/4lbs), 7-0 (4), w rsf 5 Danny Little (155lbs), 8-62-2 (1); Tom Hill (154 1/2lbs), 8-0 (2), w pts 6 Jordan Grannum (162 1/2lbs), 5-60-2; Chad Ellis (155 1/4lbs), 8-0, w pts 6 Dale Arrowsmith (155lbs 2oz), 2-30-1 (1); Alex Farrell (153 3/4lbs), 2-0, w pts 4 Saif Zahoor (159lbs 2oz), 0-3; Basi Razak (150lbs 14oz), 8-1-1 (3), w pts 4 Naheem Chaudhry (152lbs 6oz), 2-56-1 (1); Darren Reay (142lbs 2oz), 6-0-1 (1) w pts 4 Oscar Amador (142lbs 2oz), 10-22 (1); Terence Wilkinson (141lbs 6oz), 7-0, w pts 4 Danny Mendoza (136lbs 2oz), 6-4 (4); Adam Gair (200lbs 7oz), 3-0, w pts 4 Elvis Dube (190lbs), 8-78-2 (5); Steve Robinson (242lbs 2oz), 1-0 (1), w rsf 1 Shaun Duffy (241lbs 3oz), 2-3 (1).