Joe Ward ensured that Ireland will be taking home at least three bronze medals from the AIBA World Elite Championships in Doha, Qatar this evening.
The Irish light-heavy beat Belarus’ Mikhail Baudhaliavets on a unanimous decision to join Irish captain Michael Conlan and Michael O’Reilly in the semi-finals.
Doha 2015 marks the first World Championships that Irish boxing has won three medals.
Ward beat Baudhaliavets in the quarter-finals of the European Elite Championships in Bulgaria in August en route to gold. Today’s rematch more or less replicated the same pattern, with the Belarusian gamely pouring forward and flailing in a style best described as technical brawling, Ward picking off his punches and staying out of trouble on his way to comfortable, except for a few wild shots from Baudhaliavets, win.
The Irish southpaw, Ireland’s AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) in representative in Doha, will now meet Uzbekistan’s Ishod Rasulov in the semi-finals. The stakes couldn’t be higher going into the three-rounder as the winner will secure at least silver and a place at the Rio 2016 Olympics. The top two light-heavyweights (the finalists) in Doha qualify for Rio 2016.
Rasulov, a silver and bronze medal winner at the 2009 and 2011 World Elite Championships, beat Kazakhstan’s No. 1 seed Adilbek Niyazymbetov, who Ward has also beat in the past, tonight.
Ward beat Rasulov 20-9 under the old computer scoring season in the quarter-finals of the 2012 Chemistry Cup in Germany.
The two-time European Elite champion has now matched John Joe Nevin’s record of winning two AIBA World Elite Men’s Championships medals, with the opportunity of an upgrade against Rasulov, who claimed silver at the Asian Championships this year, on Monday.
Ward had the following to say after his win