With no major AOB tournaments this year, the Moate light heavyweight has signed up for the forthcoming 2018 season – the competition’s seventh – and will once again box for the British Lionhearts.
The Westmeath fighter fought for the London-based outfit in the third season of the competition, which spanned 2012 and 2013, winning five of his six fights – his sole loss coming to Algerian Abdelhafid Benchabla.
Following his experience over the five-round format, Ward then moved on to the six and eight-round AIBA Pro Boxing circuit, racking up a 4-2 record across 2014 and 2015 in an unsuccessful attempt at Olympic qualification. He would later qualify for the Rio Games via the World Championships in Doha.
After a disappointing Games, Ward bounced back in 2017 to claim a third European gold medal and silver at the World Championships.
The Lionhearts are in the European Group of the twelve-team tournament alongside the French Fighting Roosters, the Italia Thunder, and the Croatia Knights – who they face in their opening fixture in Gateshead on Friday February 16th
The Americas group will feature the Colombia Heroicos, the Uzbek Tigers, Caciques Venezuela, and reigning champions Cuba Domadores. The Asian group is populated by the Astan Arlans, the Indian Tigers, China Dragons, and Russia’s Patriot Boxing Team.
“It’s about giving yourself the opportunity. I look forward to the WSB and boxing with the British Lionhearts,” said Ward.
The 24-year-old’s participation in the tournament would seem to suggest that he may not feature in the National Elite Senior Championships which run at the National Stadium in Dublin across February.
So far, Ward is the only Irish boxer confirmed for this season’s competition – a format which provided Steven Donnelly, Paddy Barnes, and Mick Conlan with Olympic qualification.
This year’s tournament will not factor into qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, however next year’s will.
The British Lionhearts panel also includes Petar Belberov, Will Cawley, Cheavon Clarke, Frazer Clarke, Solomon Dacres, John Docherty, Carl Fail, Niall Farrell, Scott Forrest, Callum French, Zoltan Harcsa, Blaine Hyland, Conor Loftus, Kiaran MacDonald, Patrick Mailata, Luke McCormack, Pat McCormack, Peter McGrail, David Nyika, Cyrus Pattinson, Dalton Smith, Hamza Touba, Ben Whittaker, Galal Yafai, and Ward’s fellow light heavies Radoslav Pantaleev, Thomas Hart, and Alejandro Fernandez.