Best Buddy – ‘Mighty Joe’ Ward hails McGirt’s influence ahead of ‘special’ debut

Joe Ward is as much looking forward to returning to camp as he is debuting at Madison Square Garden this weekend.

The Moate BC graduate punches for pay for the first time on the undercard of the DAZN broadcast IBF middleweight world championship battle between Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin and Sergiy “The Technician” Derevyanchenko.

It’s a high profile start for a light heavyweight there is genuine excitement surrounding, but while the newly named ‘Mighty Joe’ is eager to get into the ring and show fans what he is capable of in what represents a tough enough debut, he is just as keen to get back in to camp and work with McGirt.

The 25-year-old points out he is enjoying working in Los Angeles and more so with the Hall-of-Famer. Ward claims he has been picking up the tricks of the pro trade under a coach who cornered Matthew Macklin when he took on Sergio Martinez.

Despite his obvious talents, one of Ireland’s most decorated amateurs realizes there remains a lot still to learn – and he is keen to get back to working on making the amateur to pro transition.

“I loved it in Los Angeles. The weather was perfect for training and my conditioning,” said Ward when addressing the media outside Madison Square Garden this week.

“I learned so much in just my first camp with Buddy and can’t wait to get started again after this fight.”

“Buddy is a great coach. He’s a Hall-of-Famer. He’s been a world champion himself so he knows the game inside out. Personally, I think there’s loads of room for improvement. I had a very successful amateur career, but we have to transition into being a top-class professional now.”

As promised by Lou DiBella, who co promotes the Westmeath man alongside Ken Casey of Murphys boxing, Ward has not been handed a gimme debut.

The fighter, who won three gold in the European Champions and collected three World Championship medals will face Marco Delgado [5(4)-1] over six rounds.

Nowhere near to the extent of the Times Square Boxing managed starlet, but the American has amateur pedigree – and four knockout wins from five suggests he certainly brings power to the table.

The Olympian expects his debut opponent to come in confident and to attempt to stop him, but is confident he will ensure Delgado won’t ruin a special night.

“I don’t know much about Delgado, but he has a very good record and I’m sure he will be there to try to knock me out.”

“Fighting at Madison Square Garden, especially for my professional debut, is very special and a huge opportunity, second to none. My team did a great job making this happen,” he adds before calling to be kept busy.

“If all goes well on Saturday night, I want to stay busy and continue to learn under Buddy. I’m looking to put on a show and entertain the fans on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden,” continued Ward, who will march toward the ring to the popular sounds of “The Irish Rover”.

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com