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Stephen Ward fulfils ‘building site’ promise by taking on Kazakh ‘Phenom’

It’s the kind of fight that raises fight fans eyebrows, but the exact type of opportunity Steven Ward [13(4)-1(1)] told himself he’d never turn down whilst he labored on the building sites.

The Quiet Man takes on undefeated Kazakh ‘phenom’ ;Kamshybek Kunkabayev [2(2)-0] for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific cruiserweight title as part of an MTK Fight Night in Kazakhstan on Saturday 27 February.

The event takes place at the Tynyshpayev Academy of Transport and Communications in Almaty, making Ward’s opponent the home fighter.

The fact Ward is eligible for the WBO Asia Pacific title caused some surprise, while there were a host who quiered why the 30-year-old would agree to fighting a two time World Championship a silver medalist.

If the fight doesn’t get crossover publicity it the risk reward analysis won’t make for good reading. Ward takes on a skilled, powerful and decorated fighter with proven pedigree, who not many outside the boxing world know about.

It’s a massive risk, particularly for a fighter, who could easily target a burgeoning domestic scene for potentially easier and higher profile fights.

However, Ward claims it’s the kind of challenge he said he wouldn’t turn down when he was forced back to work on the building sites earlier this year.

Speaking online he said: “Tough fight this.. One of the top amateurs in the world! Its fights and opportunities like this i said when I was on the building sites that I wouldn’t turn down. Come the 27th ill throw everything at this man.”

Speaking to David Kelly of the Belfast Telegraph Ward said:

“The reality is that for many boxers it is hard to get fights so when I was offered this one I went for it. He’s the best opponent I’ve faced, amateur or pro and I’m the best opponent he has faced as a professional,” added Ward.

“It could be a very technical fight but if I feel that I need to get in there and really go for him then that’s what I’ll do.

“I’m actually really up for having a real go at him and seeing what he’s got.

“It’s going to be a very interesting fight and although it has come at short notice that doesn’t bother me because I’m always in very good shape.

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