Wednesday 21 August 2019

Ward link to coach McGirt as he plans for pro debut

Ireland's Joe Ward. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Ireland's Joe Ward. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Bernard O'Neill

Joe Ward will make his professional debut in Boston on September 7 as anticipation builds around the first paid outing of one of the most naturally talented Irish boxers of his generation.

International Hall of Fame coach Buddy McGirt, a two-weight world champion and American Boxing Writers' Association Trainer of the Year award winner, has been linked with Ward.

The New York-native steered Arturo Gatti, Pauli Malignaggi and Sergey Kovalev - who Ward will spar in Los Angeles before his Boston fight against an opponent to be confirmed - to titles.

Ward has inked pro terms with Times Square Boxing of New York which is headed by Joe Winters, a former pro fighter, and Adam Glen, a Harvard-educated lawyer.

Winters, a Long Island businessman, described the 2009 and 2010 world junior and youth champion as a talent that only comes around "once in a generation".

A new team of coaches and promoter will be unveiled for Ireland's only youth Olympic and Olympic boxer at a press conference in Dublin early next month.

The Westmeath southpaw has been training in Waterford with Jimmy Payne, who worked his corner in the amateur ranks, ahead of his Boston fight.

Ward leaves the amateur ranks having claimed three European Elite titles, three World Elite medals (two silver and one bronze) and a World Series of Boxing belt.

But the 25-year-old believes now is the time to move on and finally try his hand at the professional game.

"Of course I would have loved to have qualified for Tokyo (2020) and won a medal there," Ward said.

"It was a difficult decision to leave but I'm ready to open a new chapter now and I have a fantastic team behind me.

"I'm in my prime and I'm knocking on the door. I expect to be challenging for a world title in two or three years.

"It's going to be an exciting and successful journey," added the former Irish captain.

Irish Independent

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