After almost a year out of the ring, Belfast’s Steven Ward is set to make his return on Wednesday night.
Last time we saw Ward in action was back in December, when he was stopped in one round by Ricards Bolotniks, in the MTK Golden Contract quarter-final. Coincidently, at the top of the bill on Wednesday are both the featherweight and super-lightweight Golden Contract finals, between James Dickens and Ryan Walsh, and Ohara Davies and Tyrone McKenna respectively.
Despite it being almost a year since his last fight, ‘The Quiet Man’ is raring to go and to get back between the ropes.
“I feel good. It’s short enough notice for the fight, I got told about 3 weeks ago but I feel good. I’ve been training away, everything is going well and I’m looking forward to it now, I’m looking forward to getting back in there.”
Although he was indeed in the ring last December, the last time he had meaningful rounds was in June against Liam Conroy.
“I got stopped in the first round, I don’t even think I’d classify that as a fight,” Ward said with sardonic laughter.
“My last proper contest was against Conroy in June, so it’s been a while, but it is what it is, I’m just happy to get back in there and lace up the gloves again.”
Pictured: Ward celebrates win over Liam Conroy (Photo credit: belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
Since his first defeat as a professional, Ward decided the time was right to move up to Cruiserweight, where he feels like he belongs.
“Light-heavyweight just took too much out of me at the end there. I just couldn’t do it. I always was big for the weight. When I first joined Jamie Moore’s gym, I told him I was a light-heavyweight, and he laughed at me.”
Although it is a new weight class for the 30-year-old, Ward is no stranger to fighting at the 14st 4lbs limit.
“I obviously boxed at cruiserweight in the amateurs for five years, got the commonwealth medal as well, but I feel good and I feel strong. It might take me a while to get into it and used to carrying the extra weight, but where I’m sitting now I feel very content.”
Wednesday night sees Ward face Jone Volau (5-5), in an all British affair. The last time Volau was in action was also back in 2019, where he was stopped by Simon Valily. Despite this loss, three of Volau’s wins have come against undefeated fighters, so the 37-year-old will be no pushover for Ward.
Pictured: Ward lands powerful right hand on former opponent (Photo credit: The Irish News)
The Belfast man is wary that the fight in a few days’ time will require him to be somewhere near his best.
“Normally it would just be a matter of getting some foreigners in and easing me into my new weight, but you don’t really have that opportunity anymore, which is maybe not a bad thing.
“This Volau guy has fought at heavyweight, and now he’s fighting at cruiserweight. He has 5 wins and 5 losses, so I think he’ll be a decent test for me being introduced into a new weight division, so I’m looking forward to it. I feel great.”