Joe Ward will learn valuable lesson from his last round display in his opening World Championships bout on Friday says High Performance boss Billy Walsh.
The Moate light heavyweight joined Irish captain Michael Conlan, Brendan Irvine and Michael O’Reilly in Saturday’s quarter-finals.
The two-time European Elite light-heavy champion, a bronze medallist at the 2013 World Championships, beat Oleksandr Kyyzhniak of the Ukraine on a unanimous decision – 29-28 across the board.
The Irish southpaw boxed superbly in the opening two rounds of today’s 81kg clash with Kyyzhniak. Responding with three and four-punch combinations to the one-punch surges of his opponent, Ward was leading 20-18 on all cards going into the final frame.
Kyyzhniak, whose gum shield went flying out of his mouth after a left hook in the second, went for broke in the final three minutes and rocked the talented Irish Olympic hopeful in the final stanza, but 21-year-old Ward had more than enough in the bank from the opening six minutes to secure victory.
Mikhail Baudhaliavets of Belarus, who Ward beat on a unanimous decision en route to his second European gold earlier this year, awaits in the quarter-finals and Walsh believes a tough test awaits.
“He has a tough one tomorrow. The Belarusian guy is a similar but smaller version to the opponent that Joe beat today. He’ll come forward and make life uncomfortable. Joe beat him in the Europeans this year, but he’ll have learned from that.
“He’ll need to bring his A game to the ring as we are at the medal stages now. He’s beaten him, but it’s like any sport in that it is a different match now.