Ward to fight Egan in Elite final

Last night’s session of the 2011 IABA Elite Championships at the National Stadium saw some excellent bouts and exciting young prospects in action, none more so than Moate’s Joe Ward.

With a final place at stake- against 10 times champion Kenny Egan – it was Ward who emerged victorious in this battle of the AIBA World Youth medallists against Davey Joe Joyce. Ward you will recall claimed gold in the 2010 World youths whilst Joyce had collected bronze in the 2008 World Youths.

Last night, Ward opened the scoring mid-way through the first round with a right off a combination and landed another stinging left seconds later.  The Moate man  extended that advantage by another four points in the second to leave Joyce with a mountain to climb in the third.

Joyce who boxes out of the St Michael’s Athy club, was awarded two points after Ward received a public warning for pulling down his head in the third, but then himself conceded two points having received  a public warning of his own for dropping his head. So Ward marches on to next Friday’s Light Heavyweight final against Egan, following this 8-2 win.

How does Ward rate his chances of beating the might Egan, who is seeking his 11th consecutive title?

“I have sparred Kenny in High Performance. I believe this will be a good fight – a very exciting fight. I believe  there will not be a lot in it  and I believe I can come out on the right side,”  Ward told iaba.ie after last night’s fight.

The lead changed hand twice as Chris Phelan, who is making his senior debut this season, ousted 2009 Senior champ Declan Geraghty in the first of the Elite Men’s semi-finals.

Geraghty took the first round 2-1 , but Phelan picked off four points, one via a sweeping left hook, to take the second 5-3. The 18-year-old Ryston man also registered three points as opposed to Geraghty’s one in the third and final frame.

A former champion  , Shane Cox went in at the bell 2-1 up against 2010 featherweight champion Tyrone McCullagh, but the European Championships bronze medallist found the target twice in frame two to edge 3-2 in front at the bell for the end of the second.

McCullagh, who  now boxes  out of the Holy Family club in Belfast, sealed the win with a right to the body and four further shots to the head in the third. McCullagh will now meet John Joe Nevin in Friday’s final. Another  top class battle to look forward to that night.

David Oliver Joyce powered his way into the lightweight decider after Ciaran Bates was retired by his corner at the end of the first round.

Joyce, who reached last year final against his own St Michael’s team-mate Eric Donovan, was 6-1 up when Bates’ corner signalled the end.

Philip Sutcliffe, the 2009 64Kg champion, stopped Anthony Upton in round one. Upton went down under a combination in a neutral corner and the referee had no option but to  stop the bout.

Jamie Dowling lost out 6-1 to the impressive  Garda  Adam Nolan, who made it back-to-back wins for the Bray BC on the night.

Meantime, Jason Quigley, the 2009 European Youth champion,  qualified to meet defending champion Darren O’Neill in a repeat of the 2010 final following an 11-4 verdict over Chris Blaney. Quigley did most of his good work in the second round of this encounter and always looked the more likely to advance on the night.

Galway’s  Patrick Corcoran will meet defending champ Con Sheehan – the 2009 EU champ, who is aiming for his fourth title on the trot at the Elite Championships –  in next Friday’s 91Kg final after a 10-8 decision over John Sweeney.

Defending super-bantamweight champ and 2007 EU silver medallist Cathal McMonagle awaits Kenneth Okungbowa after the Athlone BC man came from being 2-0 down to stop Thomas Sheehan in the second.

Another great finals night in store  on Friday and if you are going to be in Dublin area on Friday then get your ticket now  , head for the National Stadium and celebrate this the 100th centenary of the I.A.B.A.



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