“I’m not far off” – Steven Ward eyes Collins-McDonagh Irish title winner

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Steven Ward [3(0)-0] fights tomorrow night in Belfast, but will also have a big interest on the fight card in Dublin next weekend.

The Newtownabbey light heavyweight boxes fights on the ‘Battle of Belfast’ card at the Waterfront Hall in what will be his first six rounder, and the fight will be the next step on the road to the Irish title – which will be contested by Stevie Collins and Paddy McDonagh on June 24th at the National Stadium on the ‘For Honour and Pride’ card.

While he is a relative novice in the pro game, the Commonwealth Games silver medalist believes he has the talent and drive to move quickly toward the belt.

On the prospect of the Irish title, Ward responded “definitely. It’s something I’d like to get involved in.”

“Obviously the main priority is to climb up the rounds. I’m not far off [from fighting for the Irish title]. Personally I feel fitness-wise and ability-wise I’m there, it’s just experience and rounds I need. Once I get them I’m going to jump from strength to strength.”

First up is a move up to six rounds tomorrow against seasoned Hungarian southpaw Istvan Orsos [16(5)-40(12)-2] – and Ward is looking to build quickly on this.

‘The Quiet Man’ outlined how “it’s a six rounder and I don’t want to be doing anything less than six, especially as the last one was meant to be a six.”

“I’m looking forward to doing the six and, if everything goes well, I’m looking to move up after this to eight.

“Like anything, I’m planning to go the six rounds, but if something comes early it’s a blessing. I hope to put on a good performance, that’s the main thing.”

His past two fights in Belfast have came against rather negative journeyman. A crowd favourite, Ward is hoping for an exciting fight to pay back his large following.

He reasoned that “people are spending their hard earned cash to come and watch me, I want to put on a good show – although I think they got a good giggle out of the last guy [Curtis Gargano]. This guy I’m fighting here isn’t a pushover.”

Ward’s trainer Oliver Harrison wont be in the corner tomorrow night, but the Ulsterman is feeling comfortable ahead of the bout.

The 27 year old explained how “Oliver has a couple of things to sort out.”

“Oliver is still my coach one hundred percent. I did my whole camp in Salford, six weeks, probably the longest I’ve ever done and I was only home for a total of about five days. It was good, it couldn’t have gone better.”

” Before I came over [to Belfast] we sat down and had a talk about the opponent and the gameplan. He has enough respect and trust in me.

“It’s just one of them things which have come up, but he’ll be watching.”

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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