Joe Ward and David Oliver Joyce will fly the flag for Ireland in the inaugural AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) season.
The Westmeath light-heavyweight and lightweight inked APB contracts at the National Stadium in Dublin today ahead of their APB debuts next weekend, October 24th.
Ward meets Russia’s Nikita Ivanov, an opponent he beat in the 2011 European Elite final and the 2013 AIBA World Elite quarter-finals, in Bulgaria and Joyce faces Kazakh ace Berik Abdrakhmanov, who he decisioned in the Chemistry Cup final this summer, in Kazakhstan. Click on names for profiles. Click here for APB official site.
The Irish pair have plenty of experience competing in the World Series of Boxing. Joyce, who claimed his third successive European Union title in Germany this summer, has added some notable scalps to his win column in his impressive career, including Italy’s former AIBA World Elite champion Domenic Valentino, who dropped has two decisions to the Irishman in the WSB and AIBA Open Boxing (AOB).
He said: “I enjoyed competing in the World Series and I believe that the longer rounds in APB will suit my style. It will be tough going to Kazakhstan looking for a result against a Kazakh opponent, but I’ve prepared very well.”
Ward, a European Elite champion aged just 17 in 2011, became the first international boxer to win three AIBA World Junior (gold), AIBA World Youth (gold) and AIBA World Elite (bronze) medals as a teenager in 2013.
“It has always been an ambition of mine to qualify for the Olympic Games, I felt I was unlucky in the qualifiers for London last time, but I now have an opportunity to impress in APB and hopefully I can qualify for Rio,” said the Irish southpaw.
IABA Chairman Joe Christle, IABA President Tommy Murphy, CEO Fergal Carruth and Solicitor for the boxers, Frank Walsh, together with Head Coach Billy Walsh, Zuar Antia, John Conlan and Eddie Bolger attended today’s press conference.
The IABA President and CEO expressed confidence that Joyce and Ward would perform well in APB in its inaugural season.
Walsh, Antia, Conlan and Bolger will work Ward’s and Joyce’s corners in APB.