Light heavyweight “Mighty” Joe Ward is a new addition to the St. Patrick’s Day weekend boxing card at New York’s Madison Square Garden on March 15. The Westmeath prospect faces Derrick Webster, a Glassboro, New Jersey, resident with extensive experience as a sparring partner for some of prizefighting’s recent stars.
Rising super welterweight star “King” Callum Walsh, out of Cork via Hollywood, California, headlines the Tom Loeffler 360 Promotions show with Tyrone’s “Fearless” Feargal McCrory in the co-feature. The card will be broadcast live globally on UFC FIGHT PASS, the world’s leading digital subscription service for combat sports.
“I think this is a good test for him,” Ward’s promoter Lou DiBella said of his client who flies in from Ireland this Friday. “Between the [knee] injury and the pandemic, he hasn’t had an easy ride, but I think he's class, and I think this year he’s gonna prove it.”
The only loss on Ward’s 10-1 [6 KO] ledger was the result of a blown knee on his debut at Madison Square Garden in October 2019. The injury occurred in the second round against one Marco Delgado. Ward had won the first round, and two years later, outpointed Delgado over six rounds in Puerto Rico in their rematch.
In Webster, Ward, who’s 30, goes up against a savvy veteran 11 years his senior. Although with a 29-4-1 [14 KO] record, Webster is highly regarded as a sparring partner to some of the greatest boxers in recent times, in his weight division.
These include Roy Jones, Jr., the Russian Sergey Kovalev, and Andre Ward who held both world super middleweight and light heavyweight titles and retired undefeated after 32 fights.
Focus is the word ahead of Callum Walsh’s 10-rounder with Dauren Yeleussinov, the hard-hitting Kazak veteran [11-3-1, 10 KOs]. On the line is the vacant WBC Americas and Continental super welterweight title.
Hailed as the fastest rising star in boxing, Walsh [9-0, 7 KOs] holds the WBC US Silver 154-pound belt.
He defended the title against Ismael Villarreal at the Garden last November, shrugging off a trip to the canvas in the 10th and final stanza to outpoint his Bronx challenger.
“I thought I looked good. I felt good, but at the end of the day, I know that am better,” Walsh said of that performance. “I know that I can put on a better performance than that. I wouldn’t say that I’ve done anything different in my camp, but I’d say I am a lot more focused, a lot more concentrated on putting on a better performance and a better show.”
In Yeleussinov, Walsh faces the brother of 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist Daniyar Yelussinov. In his last outing last October, the southpaw Dauren Yelussinov dropped a 10-round split points decision to Pius Mpenda of Tanzania.
Meanwhile, super featherweight Feargal McCrory [15-0, 7 KOs] squares off with Mexican Carlos Carlson [25-7, 16 KOs] in the eight rounder co-feature.
McCrory emerged victorious from his previous Garden appearance, a rough and tumble six-rounder with Russian-born Brooklyn resident Nikolai Buzolin last
Also in action States-side on St. Patrick’s Day weekend is undefeated super middleweight prospect Tommy “The Governor” Hyde [7-0, 4 KOs]. The Corkman is matched against fellow Irishman Craig “BTL” McCarthy (10-1-1, 2 KOs), the reigning Boxing Union of Ireland Celtic super middleweight champion, in an eight-round bout for the vacant Celtic Nation Championship in Redwood City, San Francisco, California.
Hyde, who’s based who trains under Pedro Nemes in Santa Monica, was 2023 Irish Prospect of the Year.
“I’m delighted to be fighting in San Francisco,” Hyde said, “especially on St. Patrick’s Weekend. “There are a lot of Irish living there, so it’s great to be giving them an all-Irish fight on such a big weekend. I fought in San Francisco as an amateur and I plan on fighting there more as a professional. This is a great opportunity for me to show the Irish what I’m about.”
A celebrated amateur, Hyde had more than 100 amateur matches. He was a quarterfinalist at 2015 World Junior Championships, in addition to capturing three Irish National Championships, three Celtic Cup titles and the 2019 Haringey Box Cup.
Hyde made his pro debut in December, 2022, in a scheduled six-round bout against Jiri Kroda, who was stopped in the third round of their fight at The District in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.