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'Not boring after this': Steven Ward targets more big nights as Ulster Hall thriller ended tough week

Steven Ward celebrates his bloody victory over Liam Conroy at the Ulster Hall.
Steven Ward celebrates his bloody victory over Liam Conroy at the Ulster Hall.

By David Kelly in the Sunday Life

Steven Ward is today reflecting on a week he will never forget, culminating in a thrilling, bloody victory over Liam Conroy in the Ulster Hall.

"I've always been happy to be known as boring, boring Ward, but I don't think people will see me as boring any more after this.

"Mind you, I would be happy to go back to being boring after Friday night's fight," quipped Ward, who picked up the WBO European light-heavyweight title on points after the tough battle was stopped due to a nasty gash above the Monkstown man's left eye in the eighth round.

All three judges gave the decision to Ward, who had been on the floor in the fourth and was being blinded by the flow of blood as the intense battle progressed.

While Ward had to come through some tough moments on Friday night, he revealed it came at the end of a week which was far from ideal for a man facing by some distance the biggest test of his career.

"This win means so much to me. I'm probably as laid back a guy as you will find in boxing, but when it was announced that I had won, my knees just buckled and I sank to my knees and that scream I let out was so strong, the pressure sent the blood squirting from the cut again," said Ward.

"It came at the end of a very hard week because my wife, Cathy, who's seven months pregnant, was taken into hospital due to an infection.

"She had to be isolated in the hospital because she's pregnant and that meant I had to look after the two kids, making the packed lunches and dinners. When you're a few days away from a big fight and having to make weight, believe me, that's not easy.

"It was particularly hard when my son, Noah, couldn't finish his chicken dippers and I was licking lips, but couldn't have a go at them.

"Cathy got out on Tuesday night, but was exhausted as you can imagine and with Noah only managing four hours of sleep a night, it wasn't the ideal preparation for Conroy. But it was all worthwhile in the end. Now I want to keep this momentum and push on for bigger and bigger fights."

Ward admitted that he had to dig deep as Conroy applied plenty of pressure from the opening bell, while being encouraged by the cut suffered by the Manchester-based 29-year-old.

"Conroy fought like a man who had nothing to lose, he knew how important a fight it was for him and he went for it. The clash of heads in the first round put me off a bit, but I'm not one for panicking. I stayed focused and even though I was on my backside in the fourth, I wasn't hurt and I was able to get up get back on top by the end of the round.

"The cut really became an issue in the eighth. At one point in a clinch, I could see the blood flowing down the back of Conroy, so I knew it was an issue. When the fight went to the judges' scoring, I wasn't sure how they would score it, so it was an amazing feeling when I got the decision.

"The support I received was phenomenal, that's the best I've experienced and I don't know why, but people are backing me, which means so much to me.

"I hope I can give them more exciting nights!"

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