The Belfast light heavyweight made his debut on the Boxnation ‘Homecoming’ show at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, scoring a 40:36 win over the awkward Bulgarian Merdjidin Yuseinov.
Probably the most striking thing about the 26 year old’s pro bow was his patience. What is often the case with debuts is that a prospect’s nervous energy may lead to a messy, scrappy, stoppage – especially against a negative, unorthodox opponent like Yuseinov.
Ward however was controlled throughout and explained afterwards that “overall I was happy with my performance. I wasn’t looking for a knockout, if it came it came, but it didn’t so what the hell.”
“The main gameplan was to go out and box, which I did, it’s what I do best.”
“In the fourth round Oliver told me to do a wee bit more feinting, and when I actually did I caught him and hurt him, and if there had of been another thirty seconds I would have stopped him.”
The 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medalist, who has relocated to Salford for training, also paid tribute to his new trainer, Oliver Harrison.
Ward described how “I felt brilliant, especially having Oliver in the corner. Oliver knows everything inside out so for me to just be there is a blessing.”
One of the loudest cheers of the night came for Ward’s entrance, and ‘The Quiet Man’ was overcome with the support. He told how “I’m over the moon. It was electric, Belfast North, East, South, West, everyone getting behind each other. If I can do it there with that crowd and that pressure, I honestly feel like I can perform anywhere.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)