Napa returns to the ring and targets a shot at British title

Hackney boxer moves up a weight division for Martin Ward fight

Former British and European bantanweight champion Ian Napa returns to the ring this Sunday when he faces Newcastle’s Martin Ward, at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.

And the Hackney boxer is in a confident mood ahead of the eliminator fight for the British super-bantamweight title.

“I am excited and feeling good,” said Napa.

“I just want to fight now and can’t wait for Sunday.”

Napa will be giving away seven inches in height to his opponent, but this is nothing new to the 5ft 1in boxer who admits he is not bothered by Ward being a southpaw.

“I’m used to giving away height in my fights,” he said.

Most Read

“It’s just the same old thing and I adapt the way I fight to make up for the loss in height, but it doesn’t faze me.

“As for Ward being a southpaw? It shouldn’t be a problem to me.”

With Ward fighting in his home region of the north-east, Napa insists that home advantage will not matter in the fight.

“A ring is just a ring,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter where it is.

“Ward can have as many fans there as he wants, but fans don’t do the fighting for you, you have to fight yourself.”

Ward currently has an impressive record, having won nine out of his 10 bouts.

Ward’s only defeat came at the hands of another Londoner in the shape of West Ham’s Mickey Coveney, and Napa is confident that he has what it takes to add loss number two.

“I know that I can win on Sunday,” he said.

“I just need to fight my fight, but I am confident of beating Ward.”

For the fight, Napa will be moving up a weight division, from his usual bantamweight.

“For my last three fights I have struggled to make my fighting weight,” said Napa.

“So I made the decision to move up a weight division.”

The Hackney boxer also admits that he has his eyes set firmly on a bigger prize – a fight against Jason Booth for the British super-bantamweight title.

Napa first fought Booth back in 2000, where he lost on points in a British Bantamweight fight at the York Hall, Bethnal Green.

Napa then got his revenge with a points win of his own to take the then-vacant title back to Hackney.

“The British superbantamweight title is the focus for me at this stage of my career,” he said.

“But I have to take things one fight at a time and all I am currently focusing on is Sunday’s fight.

“Then it is on to the next one.”