It was all for the better, however, according to the Newtownabbey light heavyweight who won versus ninth round disqualification over Mexican Rolando Paredes.
There were plenty of Hispanic headbutts in Belfast – with Ward cut on his nose, under his eye, and even on his cornea – and Paredes even offering to continue fight in the Titanic Exhibition Centre car park.
While a one-eyed Ward didn’t take him up on this offer, ‘The Quiet Man’ was happy with the gruelling contest.
“That’s what you’re in it for,” he said afterwards.
“I don’t want to be in with guys that you can push over. He was a tough enough wee fella and I learnt more in that fight there than I would have in eight rounds with a journeyman.”
“He was a dirty aul git, there were headbutts everywhere. I didn’t really complain, that’s just the way it is.”
Stepping up to ten rounds right after he stepped up to eight rounds, Ward is keen to getting his pacing right as he targets major domestic titles in the very near future.
The Commonwealth silver medallist has his eye on the Lonsdale belt currently held by recent World title challenger Callum Johnson – which is expected to be vacated soon.
“I got a lot of learning from it,” admitted Ward.
“Jamie [Moore, coach] was telling me that I’m still doing too much during the rounds. I’ve a good engine and that’s probably my worst downfall because I always have to be doing something and that’s not the case.”
“In 12 months, I honestly feel I have the pedigree and the pro style to be British champion, I really do.”
“I know I have the engine for 12 if I can just get it right.”