Joe Ward [8(4)-1(1)] has set his sights on a breakout 2023.
The Westmeath fighter ended 2022 with the best win of his pro career to date when he defeated France’s Frederic Julan at Madison Square Garden earlier this month.
One of Ireland’s most decorated amateurs now wants to build on that points win and bring the momentum into next year. The medal-laden light heavyweight pro prospect has his eye on a busy 12 months cumulating in a big fight finish.
“We’re going to sit down as a team over the next few days,” Ward told the Westmeath Examiner after his win.
“From what I’m hearing at the moment, it’s going to be a busy year. We’re going to push on to bigger tests ahead, and hopefully, there will be some really big fights by the end of next year.”
“Hopefully I’ll get a good few fights under my belt next year. I’ll keep working, keep improving. It’s one step at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day!”
Reflecting on his ninth career win which played out on the undercard of Teofimo Lopez v Sandor Martin at the famous Manhattan venue, Ward added: “He was a tough opponent. He had 12 wins and one defeat, with 10 knockouts, so he was always dangerous and carried power in his punches.”
“He was a two-time Golden Gloves champion in America, as well, as an amateur,” noted Ward.
“It was an awkward fight in parts, and I didn’t really get going 100%, but the most important thing was to get the win and move onto the next one.
“That’s what it’s all about, getting the ‘w’ and pushing on. I’ve had better performances, but sometimes you have to win ugly rather than look good and lose!”
It was the toughest test of the Lou DiBella-mentored fighter’s fledgling career but not a test he felt he had any trouble passing.
“He was awkward, and he came in with a plan, but I felt I won the fight comfortably. He had his moments, but that”s just the nature of the sport.”
“I felt I had a bit of ring rust. It was tough being out of the ring for so long. Getting in there, and getting the ball rolling again, was definitely something I needed. It makes a big difference when you’re active because things just flow a lot easier.”