Ward set for pro debut under bright lights of Madison Square Garden
Joe Ward makes his professional debut in the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York tonight on the undercard of the World middleweight clash of Sergiy Derevyanchenko and Gennady Golovkin.
Following his surprise decision to turn his back on amateur boxing less than a year away from the Tokyo Olympics, the 25-year-old southpaw is being fast-tracked in the pro game.
He goes straight into a six-rounder against 28-year-old Californian-born Marco Delgado who won his first five pro fights until he lost his 100 per cent record in his last fight in May.
Ward and his Irish trainer Jimmy Payne have been based in the US since August and the Moate pugilist is eagerly awaiting his first pro fight.
Meanwhile, Irish welter Christina Desmond bounced back from a public warning to beat a Commonwealth champion and set up a last-16 clash with a Pan American finalist at the World Women's Elites in Ulan-Ude, Siberia yesterday.
The Cork southpaw beat England's Sandy Ryan on a 4-1 split decision and will meet Canada's No 5 seed Myriam Da Silva for a place in the quarter-finals next Wednesday.
The decision sees Desmond join Cavan flyweight Ceire Smith, who won on Thursday, in the last 16.
Belfast feather Michaela Walsh, the No 5 seed in Siberia, meets Mali's Carmara Fatoumata in the last 32 today and Dundalk light Amy Broadhurst faces Germany's Maya Kleinhans tomorrow.