Joe Ward claims he followed his his gut when making the decision to leave the amateurs and turn pro.
One of Ireland’s most successful amateurs and genuine Tokyo 2020 medal hope revealed last week he was leaving the amateur set up to start a new vestless chapter of his career.
While there were rumours over the last six months that the Moate BC man was considering a switch the news still caught most by surprise particularly with the Olympics just over a year away.
However, with some uncertainty still hovering around boxing’s participation in the next Olympiad, the 25 year old was worried about wasting 14 months that could have been spent building in the pros.
“Look, it was always my life-long dream to be an Olympic medallist, but things change in life,” Ward said when speaking to the Westmeath Independent.
“You’ve got to go with your gut feeling, and what you feel is best for yourself. I felt like now was the right time to make the decision to go professional.
“I think if I wasted another 14 months (leading up to the Tokyo Olympics), not knowing what the outcome was going to be, I could be falling behind in terms of the sort of professional career that I could be having.”
The West Meath man will fight a light heavy in the paid ranks and is excited about the prospect of a new challenge.
There are some who have asked if one of Ireland’s most naturally gifted fighters will adapt to the pro ranks with ease, but the fighter himself believes his style is made for the pros.
“I feel happy. This is a new chapter for me in my career. I’ve been a very successful amateur. Amateur boxing did a lot for me, and I’m grateful for that.
“It’s been a long time coming and I finally got to make the move with some great people, Joe Winters and Adam Glenn (of Times Square Boxing) who are going to be my managers and contractors, so it’s exciting times ahead.
“I think I have a style that’s suited to the pro game. Obviously I will need to adapt to a certain amount of things but I feel I have the right style. I’m a great fighter, and I think I’ll be able to adapt fairly easily.”
The three time European gold medal winner and three time World Championships medalists looks set to be based in New York for the time being.
“I’ll be spending a lot of time in New York, learning my trade and working to get to where I want to be, which is world champion.”