“I really enjoyed that,” said Hamilton following his emphatic victory. "It’s nice to be back in a boxing ring. The game plan was to stick to my jab and box, but I felt stronger than Andrew and decided to stay on the inside and look for the body. It worked from the first bell.
“I’m looking forward to my next boxing bout. My technique is improving all the time. And it was my 28th birthday today, so it’s cause for double celebration.”

Hamilton was never troubled by the Englishman. The Belfast hero had been working on his inside work during sparring and as soon as the bell sounded he moved forward and took the fight to his opponent. It left Ward with nowhere to go. Hamilton connected with some great combinations early on and piled on the pressure from then.

“He is in very good shape,” said his coach Billy Murray. “I’ve trained Gary for 13 years. As a kickboxer, there are few who can get close to him. He has always had a great attitude in training and in preparation and he’s applying that now to boxing. He’s learning the tricks of boxing that only fights can teach you. He’s learning when to properly use his guard and when to go inside. In kickboxing, because of the different demands of the sport, much of the work can be done at distance, picking off opponents with kicks and jabs. But Gary is a very smart fighter and can adapt in the ring in an instance.
“He has a major kickboxing bout in a few weeks and after that he will concentrate on boxing for a while. We’ll look at an Irish or British masters title within the next year, but he needs a few more fights first before we take that step.”

Hamilton will travel to Perpignan in south France later this month to challenge for WKN European lightweight title. Being Hamilton he’s not making things easy for himself. He’s moving up two weight divisions and he’s fighting in the less familiar low kick Thai style.

Meanwhile, also on the card on Saturday night was much fancied heavyweight Scott Belshaw. The Belfast man was in great shape winning by a knockout in the forth.