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Destructive Joe Ward blasts his way into medal rounds at European Championships

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Joe Ward this evening became the fourth Irish boxer to secure qualification for the World Championships later this year while simultaneously putting himself just one win away from grabbing a third European medal.

The double European gold medalist dropped and widely outpointed Matus Strnisko of Slovakia in the Last 16 of the light heavyweight class at the Championships in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

The win will see him join Kurt Walker, Brendan Irvine, and Sean McComb in Hamburg this August and September, but the quartet will all look to guarantee medals tomorrow.

Ward made an assured start and had his Slovak opponent down heavily inside the first minute with a short left hook to the body.

The Moate southpaw was similarly controlled in the second, counter-punching at will and barely getting out off second gear.

Ward largely coasted the last round as Strnisko bulled forward looking for a big shot which never came.

With the result in no doubt, although the announcer almost accidentally said ‘blue corner,’ the scorecards confirmed a unanimous decision win for Olympian Ward.

Waed will box to guarantee bronze tomorrow afternoon.

Earlier today Darren O’Neill and Emmet Brennan bowed out, while Walker scored a sensational win. Irvine and McComb were victorious yesterday.

An opponent for Ward’s quarter final will be confirmed shortly

European Elite Men’s Championships Kharkiv, Ukraine June 14th/25th
June 16th
(Last 32)
64kg Sean McComb (Ireland) beat Erik Agateljan (Czech Republic) 5-0

June 17th:
Last 32
56kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) beat Severiane Childaze (Georgia) 5-0
69kg Steven Donnelly (Ireland) lost to Sergei Sobylinski (Russia) 0-5

June 18th
Last 32
60kg Pat Mongan (Ireland) lost to Artur Bril (Germany) 0-5
75kg Emmet Brennan (Ireland) beat Bartosz Golebiewski (Poland) 3-2

June 19th
Last 16
52kg Brendan Irvine (Ireland) beat Bathuhan Citfci (Turkey) 5-0
60kg Sean McComb (Ireland) beat Vitaly Dunaystev (Russia) 3-2
91kg+ Dean Gardiner (Ireland) lost to Viktor Vykhryst (Ukraine) TKO2

June 20th
Last 16
56kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) beat Tayfur Aliyev (Azerbaijan)
75kg Emmet Brennan (Ireland) lost to Kamran Shakhsuvarly (Azerbaijan)
81kg Joe Ward (Ireland) beat Matus Strnisko (Slovakia)
91kg Darren O’Neill (Ireland) lost to Ramazazaqn Musilimov (Ukraine)

June 21st
52kg Brendan Irvine (Ireland) v Gabriel Escobar (Spain)
56kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) v Raffaele Di Serio (Italy)
64kg Sean McComb (Ireland) v Luke McCormack (England)
81kg Joe Ward (Ireland) v TBA

Irish squad
52kg – Flyweight – Brendan Irvine (St Pauls)
56kg – Bantamweight – Kurt Walker (Canal)
60kg – Lightweight – Patrick Mongan (Olympic)
64kg – Light-welter – Sean McComb (Holy Trinity)
69kg – Welterweight – Steven Donnelly (All Saints)
75kg – Middleweight – Emmett Brennan (Glasnevin)
81kg – Light-heavy – Joe Ward (Moate)
91kg – Heavyweight – Darren O’Neill (Paulstown)
91+kg – Super-heavy – Dean Gardiner (Clonmel)

High-Performance Director/Head of Delegation: Bernard Dunne
Head Coach: Zaur Antia
Coaches: Dmitry Dimitruc, Jimmy Payne, Eoin Pluck
Physio: Seamus Caffrey
Doctor: Jim Clover
Strength & Conditioning: John Cleary
Performance Analysis: Alan Swanton

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: