Robert Mulhern reports on the World Series of Boxing (WSB) in London’s York Hall last night which saw Irish fighters Joe Ward, Michael Conlon and John Joe Nevin in action
Joe Ward and John Joe Nevin both scored victories in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) in London’s York Hall last night, with Michael Conlon losing the bout of the evening to his old rival Andrew Selby.
Both Ward and Nevin were representing a British Lionhearts team that beat USA Knockouts 5-0.
Of the two Irish victories, Nevin’s was by far the more impressive, the London 2012 silver medallist stinging with single right-hands, countering with stiff hooks and slipping the shots of French boxer Daouda Sow with ease.
By the last round Nevin was coasting, even finding the time to treat the large Irish support to a few steps of the Mullingar shuffle.
“We knew what to expect from him,” said Nevin afterwards. “He has been around a while and is a tremendous boxer, not as strong as we expected but very very awkward and very effective at what he does.
“We could have gone another five rounds there and my last fight before the Christmas I was asking him [my trainer] to get me out after the second round.
“It’s a quare difference, we put in a lot of work and we’re only going to build from there. Monday morning it’s straight back to the gym. We have a national title to win and we’re back to winning ways.”
The winning habit was maintained by European Senior Champion Joe Ward even if the Moate teenager laboured for long periods against the Croatian Marko Calic.
“He was a spoiler,” said Ward. “Punching, holding, rolling wild with the head. He was awkward. I don’t know if he was the best of them and I don’t want to be fighting too many fellas like that, he’d cause and injury. But saying that it went well.”
Ward has secured three victories from his three outings in the WSB, but he said his focus is now firmly on defending his Irish senior light-heavyweight title in February.
“I’m looking forward to boxing in the nationals. Whoever is there, I just have to win and do the job. There will be other boxers there that will be hungry and want to win a senior, they are all going to be tough fights.
“I’ll have to cut the five rounds out and get back to my 3 x 3 minute rounds in the next couple of weeks, get my speed-work back because it’s a different ball-game and it’s points and if you lose the first couple of points you are in trouble so I just want to get back to my natural boxing with the head-guard.
“The amateur is a great sport, you can’t run it down. It’s a bit different but I’m so used to it now just need to get back into the rhythm and see how it goes.”
While WSB debutant Michael Conlon found a rhythm early, the Olympic bronze medallist lost pace in the last two rounds of a contest with Wales’ Andrew Selby that banged from bell-to-bell.
“I’m a bit gutted I lost but I’m not that gutted,” said the Belfast man.
“It’s only WSB, it’s an extra wage, that’s all it is for me and it’s a nice look at the pro-game as well.
“If that was a pro-fight it would be a world title fight because it’s number one against three. So it’s not like I’m fighting any bums.
“The Irish seniors are my main aim and that’s the best sparring you are going to get. I’m looking forward to them and it’s all just stepping stones now towards the Europeans.”