Steven Ward secures big step-up title fight


Steven Ward [11(4)-0] has finally secured the big domestic step-up fight that he had craved.

It has been confirmed this Sunday morning that the Newtownabbey light heavyweight will fight Barrow puncher Liam Conroy on the #MTKFightNight show at the Ulster Hall on Friday June 21st.

The WBO European belt will be on the line next month and a win for Ward in his toughest fight to date will put him on the road towards the title currently held by Russian Sergey Kovalev.

‘The Quiet Man’ won the BUI Celtic title last August and then had a gruelling fight with Mexican champ Rolando Paredes. Injury suffered here forced him off the Warrington-Frampton bill and he has since come back with two wins over journeymen.

Conroy [17(9)-4(2)-1] provides a substantial step-up for Ward.

The fighter of Galway descent is a former Northern Area and English champion who recently challenged for the British belt only to be stopped by Olympian Joshua Buatsi.

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The pair are managerial stablemates under the MTK Global banner and have even sparred together in the past.

Ward explained how “we’ve done a lot of sparring ahead of his fight with Buatsi. It was good sparring and we got on well. There’s no need to change any preparations based on the sparring we had.”

“I’m confident in my boxing and once you get in there, Liam’s in the way of where I want to go. Our paths have crossed and getting past him will put me another rung up the ladder.”

“It’s a step up I’m ready for and victory will open up so many more doors.”

Conroy noted how “I’m going to the lion’s den again but I’m looking forward to it. I hope it’s a good atmosphere because I thrive off hostile environments. I’ve heard great things about that venue.”

“He’s been my sparring partner and we’ve helped each other a lot in the past so there’s not too much homework to do. Myself and Johnney Roye really focus on my strengths and weaknesses anyway.”

The fight will offer chief support to the big all-Irish light welterweight clash between Tyrone McKenna and Darragh Foley while the bill also features tough tests for Gary Cully and Paddy Gallagher.

The card will be streamed live on YouTube as well as being shown on the ESPN+ app in America.

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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