Tony Browne moving down to try and step up and fill Joe Ward-sized hole

Tony Browne is dropping back down to light heavyweight in a bid to fill a hole left by the departure of Joe Ward from the amateur scene.

The St Michael’s Inchicore fighter has spent over a year working hard to build himself into a heavyweight, but will now return to his natural weight in a bid to represent Ireland at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Having suffered defeat to Ward in the 2017 National Elite championships in the 81kgs decider, suffering the same fate against Caoimhin Agyarko in 2018 and armed with the knowledge of the Moate man’s standing within the High Performance Unit the then-22-year-old elected to explore his options at heavyweight.

Browne felt the bigger weight was his best chance of securing his Olympic dream.

As a result, he has spent the last 12 months or so adding 10kgs in the correct way and trying to establish himself as a domestic heavyweight heavy hitter.

The increase in mass didn’t seem to slow down the Rathmines man’s rate of progress.

Browne proved he has the ability to perform against the big men when winning gold at a multi-nations tournament in Holland last year and was initially crowned National Elite Champion this year only for Kenny Okungbowa – whose Olympic hopes will also be boosted by the news – to be confirmed as champion on appeal.

Still the Dubliner was selected to represent Ireland in the European Games and seemed in pole position to be selected at 91kgs in next years Olympic qualifiers.

However, in the build up to the Games in Minsk, Ward, who was deemed a massive gold Tokyo gold hope, announced he was turning pro. As a result Ireland didn’t send light heavyweight representation to Minks and the door opens for a new light heavyweight Irish #1 to be confirmed.

Reigning National Elite champion Thomas O’Toole would be in the driving seat at present considering his victory in the most recent national contest.

Cork teen Tommy Hyde, who O’Toole beat in this years decider, has also expressed his desire to step up to the plate and by moving down Browne has entered the mix.

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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com