Joe Ward has the ability to be the male equivalent of Katie Taylor and become ‘the face of boxing’ according to new co promoter Lou DiBella.
The famously straight talking Brooklyn promoter has teamed up with Times Square Boxing as well Murphys Boxing’s Ken Casey as one of the men to guide the now former amateur standout’s pro career.
The New Yorker was in Dublin yesterday as Ward officially signed the contract that makes him a pro fighter – and DiBella was on hand to witness what he believes has the potential to be a significant moment, not just in Irish boxing but boxing around the world.
DiBella believes he has teamed up with a natural talent that has all the ingredients needed to become a superstar.
Indeed, 59-year-old, who worked closely with both Andy Lee and Matthew Macklin in the past, predicts if the Moate BC man can live the life and is packaged right he can become the superstar of boxing superstars.
“Joe is not your average fighter — not your average Irish fighter, not your average fighter period,” DiBella told the Irish press at the Westbury hotel yesterday.
“He’s a tremendously talented young man; he’s got the whole package: he’s bright, he’s good-looking, he’s well-spoken, he’s a family man. He has everything it takes to be a superstar outside of the ring, and inside of the ring he can punch, he can fight, and his record is impeccable,” he adds.
“I’m thrilled to work with him. We sealed the deal in New York — we had dinner, and we spent an evening just chatting, and I bought that table committed to getting a deal done with Joe.
“Because I think not only does he have the ability to be champion, he has the ability to be the face of boxing — to be something like Katie Taylor is in the women’s game.”
— Kevin Byrne (@KevByrneBox) August 6, 2019
When DiBella makes the Taylor comparison he does so in reference to respect, image and standing. The three time European Championship gold medal winner and three time World championship podium finisher won’t be rushed toward the top with the same degree of pace as Ireland’s most decorated amateur.
One half of his new promotional team believes he already has world top 15 talent as is, but is adamant he still has to be nurtured.
DiBella explains there is some learning to be done. He plans for the light heavyweight, who will be trained by Buddy McGrit, to have some good learning fights, but is determined to ensure he is constantly progressed. There will be no padding of the record.
“There’s not going to be any rush. It’s going to be appropriate development. He’s had hundreds of amateur fights — he’s been doing this since he was 17 years old. Honestly, right now, in terms of talent level — his talent level is already world-class. His talent level is already top 15 in the world.
“But it’s going to be a natural progression, and his talent is going to dictate it. There’s not going to be any rushing, and at the same time there’s not going to be any holding him back.
“There is no pressure to be placed on him in terms of his progression. His progression is going to be what Joe himself, and his trainers, agree what is appropriate,” he adds before affirming the 25-year-old won’t be given any knock-over foes.
“There’s not going to be any 2-42s. None. Zero. And there’s not going to be any 3-10s. There’s no need. That doesn’t mean he’s going to start with King Kong. He won’t. He still needs to get used to the professional game.
“I could make a ham sandwich 15-0, but Joe’s not a ham sandwich. I want to see a steady development, and his second opponent will be better than his first, and his fourth opponent will be better than his second. That’s the nature of developing fighters the right way.”
While it was made clear the speed of Ward’s progression will revolve around his most recent performance DiBella does have a time frame for the big time in mind.
If the West Meath man, who ended the long running reign of Kenny Egan, who DiBella looked to sign post Beijing 2008, as Ireland’s #1 lightweight lives up to his potential and progresses at the rate the experience promoter expects the fighter, who looks set to debut in October, will be in the world title frame in three years time.
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I’m pretty good at it. I don’t think he’s more than three years away from being in title contention. But there’s no set time for him. I would believe he could be a world-ranked light-heavyweight in two years, based on what I’ve seen.”