By John Hannen: It’s not often when an opponent pulls out that a promoter is able to come up with an even better contest than the original pairing.
Phil Jeffries, however, has bucked that trend by securing Jason ’2 Smooth’ Booth in the opposite corner to face County Durham’s Martin Ward at the Hartlepool Borough Hall on September 30, after original challenger Mike Robinson pulled out.
Ward and Booth (pictured) will square off for the vacant English bantamweight title in what is a must-win bout for both fighters.
Booth, 36-10 (15), the former British and Commonwealth super-bantamweight champion as well as one-time world title challenger, is on a four fight losing streak and cannot afford another defeat if he is to do anything more in the game.
Ward, 15-1 (4), after watching three previous English title fights fall by the wayside because of injuries and pull-outs, finally gets his chance and knows he has to take it, with another shot unlikely to come along quickly if he fails.
“Mike Robinson changed his mind about fighting Martin, and didn’t want it anymore,” revealed Jeffries. “With Ward left without an opponent we were in danger of his chance falling through again and needed to get in a quality replacement, and Booth fitted the bill perfectly.
“Jason headlined my ‘Summer Rumble 2’ show in July at the Stadium of Light and many felt he was very unlucky to lose against Willie Casey for the WBA European title. What he showed though is that he is still a brilliant boxer and has lots left. In fact many have said to me that, not only is this a better fight than the original, it’s also a much harder challenge for Martin. Both are lovely boxers and this will be a terrific fight.”
Michael Hunter, another former world title challenger, and a previous victim of Booth’s, will star in the chief support slot. Michael, who lost to Jason in a British title challenge in 2009, is on the comeback trail and, with Jeffries unlikely to promote in Hartlepool for some time after this show, will be having his last fight in his hometown.
Also appearing on the show will be Fishburn’s Gary Fox and Darlington’s Neil Hepper who will scrap for the Northern Area light-welterweight crown; Hartlepool duo Peter Cope and Callum Winton; Gateshead’s Rob Ismay; Middlesbrough’s Mohammed Waqas; and Horden’s Greg O’Neill.
‘Hunter’s Last Stand’ will take place at the Hartlepool Borough Hall on September 30. Tickets are available from all boxers, or by calling 0774 7611 020.
This article first appeared on www.northeastfightscene.co.uk/