There was a lot more important things than revenge on the line when Joe Ward [3(2)-1(1)] fought Marco Delgado [7(5)-2(0)] last month.
The West Meath fighter claims his career was at stake when he rematched the American live on NBC in Puerto Rico.
Ward lost the pair’s first encounther after suffering a freak knee injury during a high-profile debut. Having recovered he banked two Mexican wins and then faced a repeat with the awkward fighter who holds a fortunate win over him.
And despite being at the novice stage of his career and the fluke nature of the first defeat, Ward argues he went into the rematch with his career on the line.
“It was a massive fight. It was a make-or-break fight for me, because if I was beaten by Delgado it would probably have ended my career. So there was a lot of pressure on it, ” Ward told the West Meath Independent.
“I had to win, I had to perform, and get myself back on track. If it went wrong, it wouldn’t have been great for someone like me who had a wonderful amateur career and high expectations of doing well as a pro.
“I felt I was always going to be good enough to win, but in boxing you never know what’s going to happen. It was obvious that I was under pressure, but I kept my cool as much as I could and I was good enough to take all of the rounds.”
Delgado came into the fight with a solid record and an upset win to his name but was never going to match Ward’s skill set.
However, he did still ask questions and proved himself a worthy if awkward foe for an early days profesional.
“He was a dirty fighter, he was going in with the head and using the elbows,” said Ward. “He knew he couldn’t outbox me, he didn’t have the same skill level as me, so he was trying everything he could to upset me or maybe cause an injury.
“I felt I performed ok. I kept my composure, kept focused, stuck to the plan, and felt comfortable over the six rounds. As the fight went on, I was able to do more damage.
“He was a tough opponent and it was a big test for me, especially after the layoff, but I passed it with flying colours.
Looking forward Ward wants to get busy and has remained in New York to train for a possible April return.
“I just want to get the ball rolling. I want to keep fighting, keep improving, and put myself in a good situation over the next 12-18 months so that I can move on to the big fights.
“(America) is the place where I need to be. I need to be over here competing, training, eating and sleeping boxing, because this is where champions are made.
“There should be another fight in the next 4-6 weeks. Then after that it will either be one more, or a little break and then go again. But I’m enjoying it. I’ve been out (of action) for too long, so it’s time to push on.”