Kenny Egan: Don’t Go Pro Joe
By Jonny Stapleton
JOE Ward is probably the only man capable of preventing Kenny Egan from adding to his unprecedented haul of Senior Titles and furthering his legacy.
The Beijing sliver medalist however, hopes his main rival avoids the lure of the pro game and wears the vest until after Rio 2016 a least.
Rumours Ward is considering punching for pay are rife and a number of pro contracts are said to be on the table, but Egan believes the teenager should stick to the sport of boxing and avoid boxing the business.
Indeed, the fighter, whose London 2012 dreams were ultimately burst by the powerful fists of Ward, says the 18 year old would be safer keeping away from the cut throat dangers of pro life.
However, the comfort and safety net provided by the National Stadium and the High Performance Unit shouldn’t be the only thing trapping Ward’s pro ambitions, according to the Neilstown puncher.
Egan stresses whilst professional title holders are in abundance in modern day boxing, yet the Olympic medal brigade is still an elite, unique and prestigious band of athletes.
As such the Clondalkin pug believes the lure of medalling for your country on the greatest sporting stage in the history of sport should be temptation enough for the Irish light heavyweight champion to hold on to his Ireland vest.
“I have said it before he should wait for Rio. He has plenty of time to go professional. Why would he want to go pro at 18 years of age for? He has loads of time. Anyone can go pro and that’s the truth,” Egan explained.
“Anyone can go professional, but its only a select few that make an Olympic Games and win medals. If he does decide to go pro it is his own choice, but he need to consider this is a great program here. The High Performance is very professional. It is run more professionally than a lot of pro set ups.”
Egan also believes Ward’s development might be best aided by remaining with the professionally run High Performance unit and hinted his pocket wouldn’t be too out of joint either.
“He gets everything he needs here and the Sports Council look after him. When you go out to competitions and have a bad day and get beaten the High Performance is still here. If you loose once or twice in the pro game your gone. That is a business and this is a sport. That is why I didn’t turn pro. I love this sport and it is a great set up here in the High Performance. They are all very dedicated and its definitely the way forward in Irish sport. We have other sports looking in on us,” the Irish boxing legend concluded.