The Moate BC light heavyweight was dragged into a dogfight and defeated in his Last 16 clash with rough Ecuadorian Carlos Mina in Brazil.
Ward was closest to his elusive best in the first round, with some good body work and countering, but one of the three judges sided with Mina’s aggressive inside style and it was a sign of things to come.
Mina had success in the second with his brawling style before disaster struck as Ward was deducted a point for holding. The deduction seemed harsh considering the Ecuadorian’s rough and tumble style that saw him lead with the head a lot. With the judges split again in Ward’s favour, he went into the final round behind on two cards and level on one.
An all-out war in the final stanza, Ward seemed to land the cleaner shots but was again given another public warning giving him a mountain to climb. Another split round in the Irishman’s favour, it was not enough on the final scorecards – where he lost a split-decision (27-28 x2, 28-27)
The deduction-effected result will be frustrating for Ward, who admittedly wasn’t at his best and did indulge in some holding, but would have won the bout were it not for the harsh penalties.
It was a third consecutive defeat for Ireland at the Riocentro Pavilion 6 venue following losses for David Oliver Joyce and Paddy Barnes earlier this week. Ballymena welterweight Steven Donnelly will look to get the Irish back to winning ways tomorrow at 4:45pm (Irish time) against tough Mongolian Tüvshinbat Byamba.