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Dublin: 19 °C Tuesday 4 August, 2020

Joe Ward to face hard-punching test on Madison Square Garden debut

The Irish boxing great will face a 5-1(4KOs) former Californian Golden Gloves champion in his maiden pro bout.

Ward lands a left hand on Cuban amateur nemesis Julio Cesar La Cruz during the 2017 World Championship final.
Ward lands a left hand on Cuban amateur nemesis Julio Cesar La Cruz during the 2017 World Championship final.
Image: Pixathlon/Thomas Balke/INPHO

WHEN PROMOTER LOU DiBella was asked by The42 last month as to what level of opposition he intended to put in the ring with Joe Ward at the beginning of the Irish standout’s professional career, his reply was fairly emphatic:

“There’s not going to be any 2-42s. None. Zero. And there’s not going to be any 3-10s. There’s no need. That doesn’t mean he’s going to start with King Kong. He won’t. He still needs to get used to the professional game.

“But you don’t get better by doing that (fighting opponents with losing records). You build a record that way. I could make a ham sandwich 15-0, but Joe’s not a ham sandwich.”

And true to his word, DiBella has pitted Ward against a capable-looking opponent for his Madison Square Garden bow in boxing’s punch-for-pay ranks on 5 October.

On the undercard of Gennady Golovkin’s IBF World middleweight title fight against Ukrainian standout Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Moate light-heavyweight Ward will face Californian puncher Marco Delgado, who has a record of five wins — four by stoppage — and just one split-decision defeat.

As also promised, the bout will take place over six rounds as opposed to the conventional four for a pro debut.

joe-ward-and-lou-dibella-sign-his-first-professional-contract Ward and DiBella share a joke at a press conference in Dublin last month. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

The 27-year-old Delgado is a former wrestler who, following his conversion to boxing nine years ago, went on to win a California State Golden Gloves in 2015. He turned professional just over a year later having accrued a short but more-than-respectable amateur record of 24-3.

His sole career reversal in the pro game came when he was edged out in May by tough veteran Mike Guy — a former foe of Derevyanchenko’s — despite a 58-55 card in his favour.

And while the Anaheim native’s five victories have been achieved against fellow novices, he should provide a slightly trickier test for Ward than the standard debut foe.

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That said, Ward’s pedigree is such that he should still navigate his way toward a maiden victory with relative ease: the 25-year-old is a three-time European champion, three-time World Championship medallist, and in his younger days picked up golds at both World Junior and World Youth tournaments.

joe-ward-is-greeted-by-his-son-jerry Ward is greeted by his son, Jerry, following the 2017 World Championships. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

And the stylish southpaw is keen to rubber-stamp his blue-chip prospect status in The Big Apple next month.

“I’m really looking forward to making my pro debut at Madison Square Garden, which is a great venue to introduce myself to the boxing world as I enter the professional ranks,” said ‘Mighty Joe’.

“It’s going to be a special night that I will never forget. I’d like to thank my team — DiBella Entertainment, Murphys Boxing and Times Square Boxing — for the opportunity, and I’m excited to put on a great performance.”

Added DiBella, who will co-promote Ward along with Dropkick Murphys musician Ken Casey: “We expect to see a lot of support from New York’s Irish community and believe it’ll be one of many New York City fights for Joe as he begins his rise up the ranks of boxing’s elite.”

“Joe is a world-class prospect and a future star,” continued Adam Glenn, CEO of Ward’s management team at Times Square Boxing, “and we are incredibly excited that he can begin his journey as a professional at such a historic and venerated venue. This is an amazing way to start what we know will be a tremendous boxing career.”

How one of the Dropkick Murphys became a key figure in Joe Ward’s career, and Irish boxing

With the warm-up games out of the way, Murray, Bernard and Gavan discuss the renewed cause for optimism, impressive individual player form, and a potential quarter-final versus either South Africa or New Zealand.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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