By Jonny Stapleton
JOE Ward announced himself as the potential future of Irish boxing with a sensational demolition of one of Ireland’s all time great amateurs in the National Stadium last Friday night.
Now having enjoyed sucess over Kenny Egan for a second time in two years the Moat puncher is looking to the sucess of the Irish 2008 Olympic captain.
Ward hailed his domestic light heavyweight foe as a ’Legend’ after scoring a 19 point win over the Beijing silver medallist, but is not content with that victory and wants to secure legendary status of his own in the coming years.
“I am really happy with the performance and delighted to win. I want to thank my coaches and the sports council,” Ward said in the dressing room after the bout.
“Kenny is a real good boxer. He is a legend, but it is good someone new is coming in taking over. Kenny achieved a lot and hopefully I can achieve what he did. Beating Kenny by 19 points gives you more confidence..”
Ward’s focus now turns to the final Olympic qualifiers, which take place in Turkey this April. The massive teenager was just one win away from securing a place on the plane to London 2012, but somehow lost to Middle Eastern opposition in the World Championships.
The rising star claims he was too cocky in that September tournament and vowed he won’t make the same mistake again.
“I have to go to the qualifiers and focus on doing what I am good at. I didn’t do that in the Worlds. My head wasn’t right. I thought I just had to turn up. If I performed to half my ability I would have won easy,” Ward explained.
“That loss in the worlds and failing to qualify for the Olympics was probably the best thing that happened to me. It wasn’t nice taking the defeat but it did me the world of good.”