Joe Ward finished out his AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) season on a high note in Sofia, Bulgaria this evening.
The ex European Elite gold medallist comprehensively beat Joe Kennedy St Pierre of Mauritius on a unanimous decision.
Ward, who will be back in Bulgaria next month for the European Elite Championships, won all eight rounds of the light-heavyweight contest.
One judges went against the former Irish Elite in the second, but the final verdict spoke for itself in the Bulgarian capital.
St Pierre, however, was a dangerous opponent, particularly with his big rights, a number of which whizzed past Ward’s head in the opening frames.
The Irish southpaw took a tentative first and split the second before finding the target with a superb left off the backfoot in the third, a round in which he staggered his opponent backwards.
Ward’s backhand, regularly finding the target with the more crisper and accurate shots, more or less secured tonight’s victory.
St Pierre, way behind on all three cards, needed a stoppage going down the final stretch, but that was never really going to happen with Ward closing out the eight and final frame to victory.
Tonight’s eight-rounder was for ranking positions in the light-heavyweight class.
“Joe controlled the fight and we’re happy with his performance. He’s a young man doing very well and he did very well tonight to bounce back from his last bout,” said Irish coach Eddie Bolger, who was working Ward’s corner in Sofia.
Bulgaria’s Spas Genov, who Ward has beaten this season, and France’s Mathieu Bauderlique, who has beaten Ward this season, will have to meet in a rematch after their bout finished in a technical draw in Sofia tonight.
Bauderlique won the first round, but was forced into a standing count in the second, but Genov suffered a nasty looking gash on his forehead in the same frame following an accidental clash of heads and the fight was halted.
The Genov versus Bauderlique bout was for a place at the Rio Olympics and the APB 81kg final.