Joe Ward – “It’s onwards and upwards to the European Championships”

Joe Ward claimed Irish title number five last night and he’s now aiming to add European gold number three to his long list of achievements.

The Moate light heavyweight withstood a strong finish from Tony Browne to take a split decision win at the National Stadium after two years away from the Seniors due to his AIBA Pro Boxing commitments.

Afterwards 23 year old Ward described how “I felt it went okay. Tony was very gutsy, he tried, and in parts of the fight he had his moments. But, overall, I felt like I was always in control. I won all three rounds, parts of it he had a bit of success, but overall I was never in danger in any part of the fight.”

“I had to make him give me my respect because he’s a young lad with a lot of ambition. I knew going out there that I had to put the mark down nice and fast.”

“I can perform a lot better, but I went in there and dominated from the start. I knew I was never losing the fight, I was always winning the fight”

“It’s great to be back after two years out of the National Championships, it’s nice to come back and get the win.”

Ward is slowly building back after a disappointing Olympics where he lost his opening fight, and now has his eyes on the European Championships in Kharkiv this Summer where he will be looking to add to his 2011 and 2015 gold medals.

The Westmeath fighter outlined how “it’s a big year. That’s my second fight now [in this year’s Elite Seniors] and my third fight in 18 months. It was nice to get back in there and get rid of a bit of ring rust.”

“Tonight I won at about 70%. At World level I know I’ll need to be upping my game another 30% at least. The nationals is always the hardest part because that’s the part where your journey starts. To go in here and get my national title back, it’s great.”

“After the two fights at these Championships it’s onwards and upwards to the European Championships and hopefully retaining my gold medal.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie