Bobby “Boogaloo” Ward will take his first steps into professional boxing on Saturday night when he makes his pro debut on the Hennessy Sports “Rule Britannia” event at the Robin Park Arena in Wigan.
Ward, the last English fighter to beat Amir Khan will feature in a four round bout on the undercard to John Murray’s second defence of his British Lightweight title against Scott Lawton.
The event is live on ITV4 from 8pm and Ward is hopeful that he can be in the mix for the British Lightweight title himself in the not too distant future.
The 22-year-old takes his ring moniker from 1970’s Philadelphia middleweight Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts, the first man to defeat Marvelous Marvin Hagler, and he believes he can go on to achieve big things in the pro game having rediscovered his hunger for boxing after a 5 year break from the sport.
“I got married and had a couple of kids so I had to provide for them and amateur boxing is great but it doesn’t put food on the table” revealed Ward who represented the Dagenham and Repton clubs as an amateur.
“I come from a big boxing family and my two younger brothers are doing very well in the amateurs. Martin is on the Team GB squad and a big medal prospect for London 2012 and John is winning all around him as well.
“Seeing them do so well motivated me to come back and have a go at the pro game. I think the break has actually helped me because I’m really enjoying my boxing now again.”
Ward of course enjoyed his own highly successful amateur career in which he won a host of titles, one of which came at the expenses of Amir Khan.
“I fought Khan twice in the amateurs,” recalled Ward. “The first time was on a club show and I didn’t really know too much about him and took him lightly but then we met again in an English Schoolboy final in 2000 and I beat him on points.
“I was ready for him the second time around because I knew how good he was then. We both stopped all our opponents on the way to the final so there was a lot of interest in that one.
"That was a good year for me because I travelled over to Dublin and won an Irish title that year as well. My family were always back and forth so it was great to win titles in England and Ireland.
“Obviously people are going to talk about the Amir Khan fights for now but that was a long time ago and obviously I’ll be looking to make my own name in the pro ranks.”
Ward will look to make that name under the guidance of top trainer Tony Sims at his gym in Hainault. Ward has already studied the progress of Sims’ star pupil, Darren Barker and he says he’s taken inspiration from training alongside the unbeaten Commonwealth Middleweight Champion.
“Watching Darren in the gym shows you the standard you need to get to if you want to be a success in the pros,” said Ward. “Guys like Darren might have an awful lot of ability but they work harder than everyone else as well and that’s why they are as successful as they are and that’s something I’ve seen for myself at the gym.
“I just want to take it one fight at a time for now, I’ll start out at lightweight although I might even make super featherweight eventually so with Khan going up in weight and me moving down I don’t think we’ll ever have a decider in the pro’s but I suppose you never know because boxing’s a funny old game.”
Ward features on this Saturday’s “Rule Britannia” card at the Robin Park Arena in Wigan. The main event sees British Lightweight Champion John Murray put his Lonsdale belt on the line against reigning English Champion Scott Lawton while the chief support bout features a Battle of Champions with Southern Area champ Tom Glover clashing with Central Area title holder Nadeem Siddique in a scheduled 10 rounder.
The card also features a host of exciting prospects including Canadian based puncher, Andrew Singh Kooner, rising featherweight star Steve “Super Bad” Barnes, welterweight Phill Fury and the pro debuts of Ward and Sheffield heavyweight, Richard Towers.
Tickets are available from the Ticketline box office on 0844 888 4402 or via www.ticketline.co.uk.