Joe Ward (L) and Callum Walsh.
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Joe Ward and Callum Walsh earn impressive stoppage wins across the pond
The Irish amateur great from Westmeath and the Dana White-backed puncher from Cork took only minutes to turn heads in Quebec and Boston.

IRISH PROFESSIONAL BOXING prospects Joe Ward and Callum Walsh wasted little time tonight in earning impressive stoppage victories in Quebec, Canada and Boston, USA respectively.

Westmeath light-heavyweight Ward (now 9-1, 5KOs), who won three European Championships as well as two World silvers and a World bronze in the Irish vest, took just 91 seconds to rid himself of previously unbeaten Mexican Mario ‘Pantera’ Andrade Rodriguez (now 7-1, 4KOs).

Cork’s unbeaten light-middleweight Walsh, a highly regarded up-and-comer with big names from both boxing and MMA in his corner, earned his fifth stoppage in six victories as dropped Wesley Tucker (now 16-5, 9KOs) three times before the American’s corner threw in the towel in the second.

At Laval, Quebec’s Place Bell arena, unheralded Mexican Andrade Rodriguez expressed a willingness to trade with Ward early and he paid the ultimate price. During an exchange, Moate’s ‘Mighty’ Joe took a step back, let fly with venom, and dropped ‘Pantera’ hard with successive left hooks upstairs.

The 29-year-old finished the bout almost immediately upon its resumption, another left hand jarring Andrade Rodriguez’s head backwards and forcing the referee to spare him from further punishment.

Ward’s record improves to 9-1, 5KOs — the sole blemish on CV coming with a significant caveat in that he tore his ACL on his professional debut at Madison Square Garden and later avenged that ‘defeat’ to Marco Delgado.

Tonight’s bout on the undercard of a light-heavyweight title eliminator between Jean Pascal and Michael Eifert marked another step closer towards championship contention in the same division for Ward and, given the facile nature of the workout, the all-time Irish amateur great will likely be raring to return to the ring as soon as possible.

Los Angeles-based Cork man Walsh, meanwhile, continues to turn heads at an earlier juncture in his own pro career.

The 22-year-old, who is promoted by Tom Loeffler (former promoter of Gennady Golovkin and the Klitschko brothers) but also receives significant backing from UFC president Dana White, tonight headlined a card in Boston live on UFC Fight Pass, White’s network which has a broadcast deal with Loeffler’s 360 Promotions.

‘King’ Callum, who trains under Hall of Famer Freddie Roach at his Wild Card premises in Hollywood, was competing over 10 rounds for the first time in just his sixth paid fight. He was paired with a more seasoned opponent, too, in 35-year-old Wesley Tucker, albeit the Ohio man was a replacement for the more dangerous Spaniard Leonardo Di Stefano Ruiz (10-1, 9KOs).

Watched on at ringside by the UFC’s White, who champions the Cobh man at every opportunity, Walsh needed less than two rounds to blast his way through Tucker.

The powerful southpaw systematically beat down his opponent, dropping him three times with sustained assaults before Tucker’s corner threw in the towel.

Walsh will return to the ring in Los Angeles in June but promised a large crowd at the Agganis Arena on the campus of Boston University that he would return to their city before long, even calling for a bout with unbeaten Irish-Bostonian middleweight Francis ‘Frank The Tank’ Hogan who moved to 14-0(13KOs) on his undercard.

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