Win for Winters – Joe Ward determined to win world title for deceased manager

Joe Ward [2(1)-1(1)] wants to honour the memory of Joe Winters by becoming a world champion.

Winters was the catalyst to Olympic medal hope Ward turning over – and predicted he would manage the former amateur standout to world glory.

Unfortunately, Winters won’t be around to see if that prediction comes true, as he tragically passed from Covid-19 on January 5, aged just 54.

The passing hit 27-year-old, who hasn’t had the easiest of introductions to pro life, hard, but he remains resolute and determined he will reach the heights Winters expected him to reach.

“God rest Joe Winters. He has passed away, but his passing gives me more drive and determination now to fulfil his dream and be part of something special,” Ward told the West Meath Examiner.

“We’re going to do everything possible to fulfil Joe’s dream, and my dream, of becoming a champion.”

The passing came as shock to the boxing world and Ward, the West Meath fighter was aware his manager was ill when the last spoke in late December, but was confident he would make a full recovery.

“At that stage, he had Covid, but he was feeling fairly ok,” he said.

“He was getting treated at home and he was in good spirits, so I felt like everything was going to be ok, and I was looking forward to a big 2021, with myself and himself, from the boxing side of things. Sadly, he passed away a few days later,” he added before paying revealing how much time and respect he had for WInters.

“He was a great man, and he lived a great life but he had a lot more to offer, and it’s very sad to see him go so quickly. He’ll be a big loss,” he continued.

“For me personally, it probably never would have been possible for me to go pro without Joe Winters. He’s the man who made it happen. He believed in me and trusted in me.

“I got to spend a lot of time with Joe’s family in New York and they’re lovely people. Joe treated me as one of his own, and that meant a lot to me. He was my manager but he also became my friend and let me be part of his family.

“That showed the loyalty and the respect that he had as a person. It wasn’t just business for him, we had a strong connection, so it’s sad. It’s very sad.”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com