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With the Big Boys now – Kane Tucker hoping to learn from Joe Ward

Kane Tucker ended a glittering underage career with a win at the National Stadium on Friday night and is now looking to test himself against one of Ireland’s best ever

Following eight Irish titles, European Schoolboys bronze, and Commonwealth Youth silver, Tucker picked up Irish title number nine in what looks to be his final fight in the headguard.

There will be no time off, however, with the Newry talent heading to the High Performance Unit this week for some sparring – including rounds with a certain Joe Ward.

It’s a busy time in the life of the dedicated teenager who, now boxing at light heavyweight, defeated familiar foe Jack Lawlor of Thurles in the Irish U-18 final on Friday where he put in a composed performance to claim a business-like win.

“I boxed comfortably, I controlled it well, controlled the distance well,” was Tucker’s accurate description of the bout to immediately afterwards.

“There were no real worries.”

“I didn’t box well in the semi final, I didn’t get going properly. I always sort of box better in finals.”

“That’s the third Irish final in a row I’ve faced him [Lawlor]. He keeps me on my toes and keeps me working away.”

The physically strong and technically talented boxer, now trained by the Storeys at Holy Family GG in North Belfast, was fighting in the light heavyweight class for the first time in these championships.

The 18-year-old explained that it was a tactical move ahead of what he hopes will be a similarly successful Senior career.

“I could make 75kg no problem,” he stated.

“If I wanted to make 75kg, I could, but there’s no real point, there’s better competition at 81kg and I would have ended up there probably next year anyway so I may as well start early and build into it.”

Of course, being at 81kg puts Tucker in the same class as one of Ireland’s greatest ever in Ward.

Indeed, the Ulster youngster is set to get some experience with the triple European champion this week, something he feels will be of great benefit to him and his career.

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Tucker described how “I’ll be up with the Senior team in Abbottstown, I’ve been asked up to spar. That will bring me on.”

“I was up a couple of weeks ago and he [Joe Ward] wasn’t there but I was sparring Michael Nevin and we had a brilliant spar.”

“Joe is there now, it’ll be good fun, I don’t know how it will go!”

Tucker now has an open stretch of time ahead of him but don’t expect the committed teenager to take his eye off the ball.

Outlining his roadmap – where the first stop is next February – Tucker detailed that “that’s my last Youth fight, next up is the Senior level.”

“I’m too young to enter the Ulster Seniors or the Irish Intermediates, I’ll have to wait until next year, but I’ll have a good busy year.”

“The Under-22s are next so I’ve a wee bit to go, a good bit of development. ”

“One competition at a time – I start now preparing for them [Irish U22s], and then the next one. I’m not thinking about Olympics, just as long as I stay national champion I’ll be up there.”

“If it comes, it comes, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t”


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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: