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I will take defeat like a man and bounce back says Ward as Tennyson produces shock

PUBLISHED: 14:00 08 May 2018 | UPDATED: 11:00 09 May 2018

Martin J Ward contemplates defeat as James Tennyson celebrates (Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom Boxing)

Martin J Ward contemplates defeat as James Tennyson celebrates (Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom Boxing)

LAWRENCE LUSTIG

Martin J Ward vowed to bounce back from the first professional defeat that cost him his European and Commonwealth super-featherweight titles, along with his dream of a world title challenge, at the O2 Arena on Saturday.

Martin J Ward is caught by James Tennyson at the O2 Arena (pc Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom Boxing)Martin J Ward is caught by James Tennyson at the O2 Arena (pc Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom Boxing)

Belfast battler James Tennyson climbed off the floor to halt Ward in the fifth round for his shock victory, but the loser vowed: “I will be back better for this setback.”

The former champion, who launched his ring career as a Dagenham BC schoolboy, said: “It was an exciting fight with ups and downs, obviously I am gutted about the outcome but I will take it like a man.

“It wasn’t my night, but I love this fight game – it’s what I live for,” added the 26-year-old Ward who had been previously unbeaten through 21 paid contests.

Ward looked like staying that way as he landed the sharper blows in the opening exchanges, including a fierce body shot that saw his rival crumble to the canvas at the end of the second round.

Martin J Ward hits out against James Tennyson (pic Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom Boxing)Martin J Ward hits out against James Tennyson (pic Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom Boxing)

But he then dropped his usual hit-and-move style to press home his advantage in the third and traded toe-to-toe punches with the 24-year-old Tennyson, who later admitted: “That suited me fine.”

The Northern Irish boxer turned the contest his way by landing lethal left hooks in the fourth round and Ward was clearly on the receiving end again in the fifth.

Tennyson lived up to his nickname of ‘The Assassin’ as he landed a battery of blows that forced Ward to take a count and although he hauled himself upright, he soaked up more shots against the ropes.

Ward was clearly shaken and there were no complaints as referee Victor Loughlin wrapped his arms around the loser and signalled the end after two minutes 24 seconds of the fifth round.

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