The Newtownabbey light heavyweight is a cultured and respectful guy, universally liked in the Irish boxing community, and unsurprisingly he hasn’t resorted to trash talk ahead of his first big fight in the pros.
Ward faces Dubliner Stevie Collins Jr [12(4)-1(0)-1] for the BUI Celtic title on Saturday night at Windsor Park and, while there may be fireworks in the ring, there won’t be any beforehand outside it.
The 175lb pair have been beyond respectful in the build-up to the eight-round title fight, with a complete absence of anything even remotely resembling trash talk – indeed Commonwealth silver medallist Ward has even suggested that the pair will go out for dinner afterwards.
Ward [7(2)-0]explained how “we both want to go places and there’s no disrespect. Steve knows and I know that we’re in each other’s way. We’ll shake hands before and after. When we’re in there, it’s a sport.”
“That’s where the name ‘The Quiet Man’ came from – people who meet me outside of this would say that they wouldn’t know I was a boxer.”
“I think they expect boxers to be walking about spitting, slurring their words, pushing and generally being nasty – but people aren’t like that.”
The night will be a special one from Ward who is a close friend of headliner Frampton – who defends the WBO interim featherweight title versus Luke Jackson.
The pair train alongside each other at Jamie Moore’s VIP Gym in Astley and the opportunity to fight at the home of Northern Irish football is a huge one.
Ward noted that “this night is unreal for us. I live a stone’s throw from Windsor Park at a place called Taughmonagh. I could walk to the fight for the warm-up!”
“Hopefully there will be more fights at Windsor Park but potentially there might not be. The opportunity to be on a show like this in front of Belfast people who know their boxing, it’s an honour to get in front of them on a stage like this.”