Home Boxing News Irish boxing star Joe Ward is back!!!

Irish boxing star Joe Ward is back!!!

Joe Ward

After being out of the ring for 14 months following a horror debut the Irish star is back and is focused on being ruthless after his knock-out wins in Mexico.

The Westmeath boxer who is 27 years old returned to the ring with two victories in Mexico this month.

Joe unluckily dislocated his kneecap on his bow at Madison Square Garden in October 2019 and the fight with Marco Delgado went down as a technical defeat.

The comeback fight in Boston in March fell victim to Covid-19 and the slick southpaw returned to Ireland determined to make lockdown work in his favour.

Under the guidance of coach Jimmy Payne, the goal was to harness his hurt and transform into a fighter capable of inflicting pain on anyone he met.

And, with two quickfire KOs coming his way at the Campestre Ojo de Agua, Ocotlan, he now has a winning record and a brand-new attitude to take him into 2021 and beyond.

Ward’s victims, Luis Alberto Velasco (5-13) and Fernando Miguel Tamayo (5-10) may not have been on his level but he could have been forgiven for carefully going through the motions, testing the knee, racking up the rounds and shaking off the ring rust. He got rid of both inside the first round!

The three-time European champion told the SunSport “it was all really positive for me, it was just great to be back”. “I was looking forward to it going in and being ruthless”.

“Going in and relaxing and getting them out when I want is not the way forward for me now”.

“It’s about going in, being very ruthless and taking them out. And whether that’s in one round or six, I’ve got to do it”.

“You’ve got to be realistic about it. These boys were not on the same level as me”.

“But the previous Joe Ward would probably take them a couple of rounds, outbox them and take my time, outscore them and probably end up stopping them in the later rounds or maybe going to the cards. The new Joe Ward, he’s got to be ruthless”.

Getting the job done ““that was my main focus,  it was about being ruthless and not wasting any time2.

“Just get in, do your job and get out. That’s what I’m focusing on because I know for a fact that I don’t want to be hanging around with this level of fighters too long”.

“I want to be moving on, I want to be getting bigger fights in the near future and I just wanted to go in and be ruthless and move on to the next one.  No point waiting around”.

“I learned my lesson on having that sort of mindset in Madison Square Garden”.

The Moate man was simply told to stay ready for two potential bouts before the end of the year.

Asked about how quiet the build-up had been, Ward added: “It wasn’t that I really kept it low key, it was just that, obviously I trained really hard, I kept myself in great shape through everything that was going on through the lockdown, through the situation we’re in where we couldn’t go sparring, we couldn’t travel. But I just kept training really-hard, kept doing what I could do, and it really came at short notice”.

“I was in good shape so I had no excuses”.

“I said, ‘Absolutely’, I was ready to go and compete”.

“My weight was good, I was in good condition so I just decided that it was time to go”.

“We didn’t get a lot of notice but I was ready and I was delighted to get the opportunity”.

“It was set up by my promoter Lou DiBella and my managers, Joe Winters and Adam Glenn, who really pushed it and wanted to get me out with two fights this year”.

“It was coming to a stage where I thought it wasn’t going to happen”.

“But I never doubted them when they said that they would get me two fights”.

“And I was ready, that’s the most important thing for me, to be ready — when the opportunity came that I could just jump on a plane within 24 hours and get over there and compete”.

Ward made history in the vest for Ireland.

He was a double World Championships kingpin at underage level, winning two silver and a bronze medal at senior level.

As well as his three European gold medals, a four in a row was only thwarted by a similar knee injury to the one  that ruined his pro debut, he also represented Ireland at the 2016 Olympics.

His amateur career took him all over the world but Mexico was a new experience.

The light-heavyweight added: “It took a while getting there”.

“We flew to Amsterdam and we stayed there for five or six hours. We flew from Amsterdam into Mexico then, which is a long flight”.

“And the time zone was a big difference as well, it was six hours, so it took a few days to adapt to it”.

“But we’re lucky enough. We got there five days before my first-fight so it gave me loads of time to adjust. I was ready for anything. I have done it all before in the amateur game”.

“I’ve been away in these countries and competed over five or six days, consistently fighting, so it never really bothered me”.

“It was nothing new to me. I’ve done it through the years as an amateur”.

“I hadn’t fought in Mexico. I found it a good place”.

“There’s a lot of great fighters who came from Mexico”.

“It’s a fighting nation. A tough, tough, tough nation”.

“I enjoyed it and I was really excited because I was out of boxing for so long”.

“And also it’s great to get the opportunity to go away and fight before Christmas”.

“It has been a long time out. Fourteen months out of the ring”.

“Through these tough times, through the lockdown, through everything that’s going on in the world at this present moment, especially sport”.

“There wasn’t a lot of opportunities out there but I was lucky enough to have a good strong team who pushed it, and got me the opportunities just before Christmas to get two really good fights in”.

“It’s like it’s brand new again for me. So to get there and get back into that zone and involved in the whole preparation for a fight, it’s great, really exciting, and I really enjoyed it”.

“I knew myself that I was in good shape. I was doing a lot of great things in training and I knew I’d just have to do what I have been doing over the last number of months”.

The fighter, a dad to sons Joe, Jerry and Joshua, intends to have a busy 2021 — with another trip to Mexico slated for next month”.

He said: “It’s always great to get home, especially for Christmas”.

“I was lucky enough that I got there and everything went really well. We have a big 2021 planned ahead. It’s going to be a very busy year for me”.

“It’s going to really get me out there, stepping up the levels of opponent, really focusing on getting up the ranks pretty fast and hopefully having a massive year with plenty of wins”.

“The plan is to head back to the States in the middle of January”.

“We’re considering maybe having one more fight in Mexico again in January, heading to the States then and having a busy year there with some really good fights”.

“Hopefully then things will be picking up again with the crowds and that, with more opportunities regarding fights in different parts of America”.

“It’s very positive but as we know, this virus is ruthless as well and we don’t really know what’s going to happen”.

“It’s just great to get back into the fighting zone and get the ball rolling again and get two really good wins under my belt”.

“Like everything else in these times, it’s just about getting any sort of opportunity and just being able to get back into the ring and fight”.

“I have a good team backing me 100 per cent and they really pushed it to get me out there fighting again”.

“They said they couldn’t wait much longer, especially as I was putting the work in back home to get through 2020.”

Manager Glenn, from Times Square Boxing, accompanied the fighter on his Mexican trip.

The New York attorney said: “Joe is a special talent and a really great kid. I was crushed for him when his career started off with so much bad luck, but he’s back on track now.”

And Ward, one of Ireland’s most skilled fighters of all time, added with a laugh: “You don’t lose it! You don’t lose it overnight. It’s something that you have  and you either have it or you don’t have it.

“I was lucky enough to be one of the people who have it.”