“Mighty” Joe Ward made short work of Mario Andrade Rodriguez at Place Bell in Laval, Canada, last week, dispatching the previously unbeaten Mexican in less than a round on St. Patrick’s Day eve.
Ward’s quick romp was set up by a thunderous left hook that decked Rodriguez. He beat the count but another vicious left from the southpaw Ward forced the referee to halt the scheduled eight round light heavyweight scrap at 1:31 of the opening stanza.
Out of Westmeath, Ward, who’s 29, upped his ledger to 9-1 with five KOs. Rodriguez dropped to 7-1, also with four stoppages.
A three-time European gold medalist in the amateurs, Ward hopes 2023 will be a breakout year for him in the paid ranks. He’s promoted by top New York impresario Lou DiBella
FEARGAL GETS DOS
Big punching Eduardo Pereira Dos Reis is Feargal McCrory’s opponent on April 14 at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia. The Brazilian lightweight is 24-11 but 19 of his victories have been by knockout.
“It will be a dangerous fight – and I’ll have to be 100 percent,” McCrory, who’s 13-0 [6 KOs] himself conceded. “But these are the challenges I came to America for. The greater the challenge the better I perform.”
He’s been training hard under Colin Morgan at the latter’s Bout Fight Club in lower Manhattan.
This will be the Tyrone transplant’s third fight in a row States-side after his quick KO of another Brazilian, Aelio Mesquita, in Atlantic City last month – and a six-round unanimous points decision over Cesar Cantu in Brooklyn last September.
Self-managed, McCrory is cheered by the support he’s received from Irish fans in New York thus far, since settling down in Woodlawn. “I’m thankful for the support the Irish community has shown me. It’s such an honor to represent them,” he said.
Call 914.309.3732 or 914.439.9332 for tickets to the Reis fight.
CONLAN TITLE TILT
Michael Conlan will challenge Luis Alberto Lopez on May 27 in Belfast for the Mexican’s IBF featherweight title, reports ESPN. The fight will be streamed live State-side on ESPN+.
This will be Conlan’s second world title shot. He lost by spectacular 12th round TKO in his bid for Leigh Wood’s WBA belt in Nottingham, England, in March 2022. Both men had scored knockdowns when Wood sent Conlan through the ropes in the final stanza.
Conlan was ahead on all three cards in what was voted ESPN's 2022 Fight of the Year. Wood’s stoppage was also named ESPN's KO of the Year.
It is the only loss of the 31 year-old Conlan’s 18-1 [9 KO) pro career. He has since fought and won twice to set up this crack against Lopez.
“Lopez [27-2, 15 KOs]) will be making the first defense of the title he wrested from Josh Warrington in December. The 29-year-old Mexican fighter was in his opponent's backyard, Leeds, England, but did enough to eke out the majority decision in a grueling fight.
“Now, Lopez will travel to enemy territory once more. He has won 10 consecutive fights since a 2019 decision setback against Ruben Villa.
Lopez and Conlan are promoted by Top Rank. Lopez is ESPN's No. 3 featherweight while Conlan is ranked No. 9,” reported ESPN’s Mike Coppinger.