Joe Ward celebrates his first-round win in Canada tonight.

Ruthless Ward wins by first round stoppage in Canada

Ninety-one seconds is all it took for Joe Ward to record his ninth win as a professional, with the Moate boxer producing an impressive display of power punching to dispatch Mexico’s Mario Andrade Rodriguez with a minimum of fuss tonight.

His eye-catching win, in the Montreal suburb of Laval, is a perfect start to a year in which the 29-year-old is aiming to rise up the ranks of the light heavyweight division to eventually earn a shot at a title fight.

In the build-up to this fight, Ward spoke about how well his preparations in the gym in New York had gone.

He looked a picture of contentment as he made his way to the ring, smiling as Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ reverberated around Place Bell, the ice hockey arena where the bout took place.

Ward’s opponent, Mario Andrade Rodriguez, came with a record of seven wins and no defeats, with all of his bouts taking place in his native Mexico.

Little was known about Rodriguez – Ward had not seen footage of his opponent’s previous fights – but when the action got underway it didn’t take long for the Westmeath man’s superior boxing pedigree to assert itself.

Joe Ward, right, backs Mario Andrade Rodriguez into the ropes.

Ward landed with a meaty left hook to the body in the opening seconds and it was clear that, having gone the distance in four of his previous six wins, he was targeting an early night on this occasion.

A little over a minute into the contest, Ward backed Rodriguez into the ropes and landed a terrific left hook to the chin, which sent the 25-year-old to the canvas.

Rodriguez got up quickly, but was somewhat unsteady on his feet, and when Ward followed up with two more heavy lefts to the chin the referee stepped in to wave it off.

The TKO victory improves Ward’s record to 9 wins (5 by KO) and only one defeat, which came when he suffered a freak injury by dislocating his knee in his professional debut in October 2019.

Ward now intends to be back home in time to march in Sunday’s St Patrick’s parade with Athlone Boxing Club.

'Mighty' Joe Ward and his coaching team after tonight's victory.