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You bet Frampton is a big inspiration: Ward

 

Within reach: Steven Ward en route to beating Liam Conroy
Within reach: Steven Ward en route to beating Liam Conroy
David Kelly

By David Kelly

He may have lost a recent bet with the former world champion but Steven Ward says he never stops learning from Carl Frampton.

As light-heavyweight Ward looks ahead to his return to the ring on Saturday night in the eight-man Golden Contract, he believes continuing to work alongside Frampton is helping him greatly improve as a professional.

Ward enjoyed the most important win of his career in an exhilarating clash with Liam Conroy at the Ulster Hall, which he won on points when the bout was stopped on cuts in the eighth round. As the decision was announced, Frampton catapulted through the ring to celebrate with the gentle giant.

"I feel like I learn from Carl because he has such a great boxing IQ and I'm very grateful because he does a lot for me. He's a good lad, he wants to see people do well and being away from home in camp it's good that we can have a bit of craic together," said Ward.

"I've even forgiven him for winning the wee bet that we had recently.

"My fight with Conroy and his fight with Josh Warrington were both up for the Fight of the Year award and the deal was that the loser had to wash all the kit of the other person and make them tea and coffee whenever they demanded it.

"At first he didn't want to do it but then I got a call saying he was up for it. I lost because Frampton-Warrington was voted Fight of the Year. Fair enough, I thought, but then I found out he had been tipped off that his fight was going to win - I'm still getting over it!

"Seriously, though, Carl's attitude and mentality is something that every fighter could learn from. Going into his last fight I was concerned for him because he had a rough camp, breaking his hand twice, but he had no concerns and boxed brilliantly.

"He could easily have pulled out of the fight and a lot of people would have but I remember him saying to me that because people had paid their hard-earned money he had to box - it shows the character of the man that he was more concerned about people getting stung."

Ward will be in one of four quarter-finals covered by Sky on Saturday night in a tournament that offers the winner the chance of a five-fight contract with top promoter Bob Arum. The 29-year-old is hoping that a good run will help accelerate his career over the next 12 months.

He added: "This tournament is a great opportunity for all the guys. I feel if I can win this then the next few years are going to be very big for me."

Meanwhile, Cathy McAleer is now managed by Kellie Maloney.

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