Oldest professional boxer Steve Ward retires as a world champion
The world’s oldest professional boxer ended his career as a world champion on Friday night.
Mansfield’s Steve Ward, who turns 65-years-old this Thursday, had little trouble in seeing off Romanian Adrian Parlogea – a man 15 years his junior – to claim the inaugural World Legends Boxing World Cruiserweight Championship at Mansfield Rugby Club.
After sending Parlogea to the canvas three times before being declared the winner by knockout in under three minutes, Ward, who won 136 of his 148 amateur fights as well as around half of his 60 professional bouts, was a proud man as he reflected on his victory.
He said: “I always said I’d be a world champion and that’s what I am. I can’t stop looking at the belt!
"Failure wasn’t an option – it was all or nothing given it was my last chance and at the same time that’s made it all the more special.”
Ward says his plan on how to fight his opponent ended up going out of the window once he got into the ring.
He said: “I’d planned to feel him out for a round and then attack in the second, but ended up going out punching from the off. I think he underestimated me and literally didn’t know what had hit him.
"I knocked him down twice, both to eight counts, but fair play to him, he kept carrying on and at one point I literally had him on the ropes and he ended up going over them and landing on the judges’ table.
"He still came back in but I launched another 20 or 30 punches and when he went to ground again that was it.”
Ward now says he plans to enjoy retirement, particularly having worked so hard to get in shape for his final battle.
He said: “I’ll still be in the gym plenty but mainly to keep fit, just not fighting fit.
"I’ve one or two things lined up boxing-wise that will keep me involved in the sport and my autobiography will also be out later in the year.
"It only really dawned on me it was my last fight as I left the venue on Friday and it brought a lump to my throat.
"From nine-years-old until now it’s been a huge part of my life and I’ll miss it greatly.
"But I’ll take my belt to my dad’s grave and show it to him with pride because I worked so hard to achieve it.
"I won this title for him, for Mansfield, for Nottingham and being as patriotic as I am, for my queen and country too.”