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‘Not knowing was always the hardest part’ – Joe Ward feared his career was over before it begun

Joe Ward [0-1(1)] admits he thought his career was over before it begun.

One of Ireland’s greatest ever amateurs endured the most disastrous debut in New York last October.

The Moate man suffered defeat after suffering a freak injury against Marco Delgado on the Gennady Golovkin v Sergiy Derevianchenko undercard.

Ward’s knee went from under him in the second round of the fight and he couldn’t fight on. Despite calls for the bout to ruled a no contest the six time major medal winners debut went down as a defeat.

At that stage the now Joey Gamache trained fighter thought it was game over. The injury brought back memories of the 2013 European Championships where Ward was eliminated after dislocating his left kneecap versus Mateusz Tryc – and it left the 25-year-old light heavyweight fearing the worst.

“I knew when it happened the first time (knee injury) that if it happened again, it could end my career. So, when it did happen again, I thought that it was the end,” Ward told Bernard O’Neill.

Ward did make a recovery and was set to fight on Murphys Boxing’s annual St Patrick’s Day fight card before the pandemic saw that March 14 bill cancelled.

No doubt the decorated amateur was upset at the time, but upon reflection he was happy to give his knee more time to rest.

“I have a good team behind me, and the lockdown gives me a little bit more time to ensure my knee is perfect. It was fine when I was in training camp for the March 14 fight which was cancelled.

“It will get better the longer I wait. It’s not a worry now, but I was devastated when it happened, not knowing if I would recover. Not knowing was always the hardest part.”

Considering he is to fight out of America for now, Ward doesn’t believe he will be out over the summer. The West Meath fighter is keen to fight this year and is hoping for a September return.

“I believe it will be September before I fight again and I hope to have two fights this year. I’m eager to get in the ring.”

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 sports for a living for over 20 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