CREGGAN kickboxer, Gerard Ward has his sights set on a world K1 title within the year after recently clinching the WKU European light heavyweight strap.
The hard-hitting 28 year-old defeated top ranked Polish kickboxer, Przemyslaw Rolirad (FSW Ofensywa) by split decision in a brutal battle at the Halfway House, Burnfoot.
Fighting out of Mayhem Martial Arts, Derry, Ward found himself in trouble during the first round when a strong punch from his opponent opened up a nasty cut above his right eye.
With blood trickling into his eye, Ward managed to fend off his opponent’s advances for the remainder of the round and he felt he won the next two rounds.
The judges awarded Ward the win on a split decision with just a single point separating the fighters, much to the delight of the Creggan man who has turned his back on MMA to concentrate on progressing his K1 career.
“I’m well pleased,” said Ward.”I’m going to move away from the MMA now and stick with the K1.
“I’m better at the K1 so I’m going to put everything into that now and try and get another couple of belts.
“The guy came over from Poland to fight me,” he explained. “He’s highly ranked in the European K1 scene so it was a good scalp to take.
“He was a hard nut,” he continued. “He nearly put me out in the first round and opened up my eye with a punch. I was put off for the rest of the round with the blood running into my eye.
“But I gathered myself and won the second and third round easily.
“It was a split decision with one point in the fight. It was a real tough fight. He stood toe-to-toe and we were both throwing big shots. But I’m delighted with the win and it’s on to the next one.”
And Ward’s prepared to defend his title in the next few months, preferably on home soil before moving on to securing a world title shot with the WKU.
“Whenever WKU get in contact with me I’ll defend it and hopefully I can get a world title shot next. That’s the next step up.
“I reckon I have another two or three years left in the sport so I want to be as successful as I can.”
The Creggan man thanked Mayhem Martial Arts coaches, Brian Crossan, Jim Ramsay, Kevin Anderson and his corner men on the night, Mark McLaughlin and Brian Houston.