Joe Ward gets St Patrick’s Day celebrations of to KO start

Joe Ward got the St Patrick’s Day celebrations started early with a victory at the Place Bel on Thursday night.

One of Ireland’s greatest-ever amateurs fought for the first time in 2023 on the ‘No Limit’ undercard of an IBF eliminator at his weight between Jean Pascal and German Michael Eifert in Quebec and ..

Ward went into the fight on the back of a career-best win over Frenchman Frederic Julan at Madison Square Garden but a performance he was determined to improve on.

The Lou DiBella mentored three-time European Championship gold medal winner did just that to get what he predicts will be a big year off to the perfect start.

Ward had Mario Andrade Rodriguez out of there before the end of the first round, dropping then stopping the Mexican in under 2 minutes.

The experienced amateur international looked calm and assured from the off against what looked like a game opponent. He got behind his jab and dropped his foe with the first backhand he threw upstairs.

The away fighter rose to unsteady feet and was taken out within seconds, the southpaw rolled Rodriguez’s eyes back with another left hand prompting the referee to step in and call a halt to proceedings just 91 seconds into the fight.

Speaking before the fight the Moate BC graduate revealed he wanted this year to be a break out one full of big fights.

I want to push into the top 20 this year. I’ve been talking with my team about taking on some big fights and maybe bringing a fight back to Ireland at the end of this year or early next year.”

The win sees the West Meath man improve to 9-1, with four knockouts, his sole reverse coming after a freak accident on his debut. His Mexican opponent now boasts a slate of 7-1, or 7-2 depending on who you listen to.

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