Joe Ward wants to be in world title contention within two to three years after formally signing a professional deal with promoter Lou Di Bella in Dublin today

It was confirmed at a press conference that Ward will train under the guidance of Buddy McGirt as a light heavyweight and largely based in New York.

Jimmy Payne will also be part of the coaching team. 

Joe Winters and Adam Glenn will manage Ward under Times Square Boxing.

No announcement has been made with regard to his debut but it is expected it will be on the east coast of America in October.

Ward revealed that after previously knocking back several offers to turn pro that he feels it is now his time despite it being just a year out from the Olympics. 

The 25-year-old told RTÉ Sport's Siobhan Madigan: "I'm excited. It has been a very difficult situation for me over the last number of weeks to make this decision. It wasn’t easy.

"But I feel I have the right team, giving the right advice, and it was my time to go professional. I know it’s close to the Olympics but these chances don’t come every day. You have to make the right decision for yourself. 

"I felt I did so much for amateur boxing. It gave me so many opportunities. The amateur game was very good to me.

"The High Performance Unit, the Irish Sports Council, these people have supported me for a number of years. We left on good terms. Now I have a new career and a new chapter. I want to as successful as I was an amateur.

"We have a good strong team that can get me to where I believe I can be and where my talent can take me and that is world champion."

McGirt is a Hall of Fame trainer and is currently preparing WBO champion Sergey Kovalev for a defence against Anthony Yarde.

Moving to New York, likely away from his family for long periods, will be a sacrifice for the Moate man but he is thrilled with the new start.

He will forgo a four-round bout and immediately start at six-rounders.

Ward added: "Buddy is a very experienced coach and he was a world champion boxer. He knows what it takes. He will work with me in New York which is going to be exciting and difficult but it's going to be a great journey. I’m really looking forward to going over there and settling in.

"I had a very good amateur career and I was lucky enough not to get too battered or bruised over it. I had a nice smooth career so I can afford to step in and start off at six-rounders and a high enough level. I want to go on to achieve great things for my family, my friends, my country and everyone that gets behind me.

"My expectations have always been very high and people thought a lot of me and wanted me to achieve my ultimate goals because they knew I had the ability to do that.

"That doesn’t bother me one bit. It’s the honest truth that within two to three years if everyone does the right thing and we all do what we’re supposed to do, I should be knocking at the door to be world champion."