Steven Ward confident he can handle added ESPN pressure on Friday

RINGSIDE 20/06/2019


Steven Ward is sure he’ll handle the atmosphere and claim the WBO European light-heavyweight in his hometown of Belfast on Friday.

The undefeated ‘Quiet Man’ (11-0, 4 KOs) clashes with former sparring partner Liam Conroy (17-4-1, 9 KOs) on an excellent #MTKFightNight bill at Ulster Hall – live on ESPN+ in association with Top Rank and on iFL TV.

Although the pair know each other well having shared countless rounds in training, Ward believes being able to stay cool in the cauldron will be most crucial.

Ahead of the scheduled 10-rounder, Ward said: “You should always be able to adapt to whatever’s in front of you. People change plans and game plans can go out the window. You never know what’s going to happen in there.

“I just need to focus on myself and make sure I’m firing on all cylinders. Hopefully that’s enough on the night.

“I actually don’t feel being on ESPN+ adds any more pressure. I’ve fought on big stages like Commonwealth Games finals and at Windsor Park before and it didn’t really have an effect on me.

“There are even bigger opportunities round the corner after this but that’s not something I focus on – I’ve every faith in MTK Global when it comes to that.

“My management team know I want to go the whole way so I just have to keep winning on the path they set out for me.”

Starring alongside Ward vs. Conroy is a WBC International super-lightweight collision between Tyrone McKenna and Darragh Foley – also over 10 rounds – with two potentially show-stealing welterweight match-ups in Paddy Gallagher vs. Liam Wells and Lewis Crocker vs. Karim Aliliche.

Locally-trained super-middleweight Taylor McGoldrick (3-0, 1 KO), Caoimhin Agyarko (3-0, 1 KO) and Owen O’Neill (1-0) have chances to shine on the undercard.