Egan retires after bruising encounter with Ward
Joe Ward (red) on his way to victory over Ken Egan during last night's National Elite Championships Finals. photograph: cathal noonan/inpho
BOXING: IRISH NATIONAL ELITE CHAMPIONSHIPS FINALS:The force of nature that is European light heavyweight champion Joe Ward took Beijing silver medallist Kenny Egan through three of the toughest rounds of boxing in his life last night.
Afterwards Egan announced his retirement from amateur boxing and called Ward a great fighter. “That’s the last of it for me. I’m retiring in the ring,” Egan said afterwards.
Throughout, Ward confirmed again he is, by a distance, the best in Ireland, Europe and later this year, maybe the world. Ward almost stopped the contest in the second round and forced the venerable Egan to a standing count. At that point he had moved from 8-2 up after the first round to 21-3 in the second finally winning the 91kg contest 25-5.
Ferocious Ward strength
Egan had nothing to match Ward’s ferocious strength and all he could do for most of the bout was avoid the aggressive swinging teenager. At one point Ward’s arching left missed and had him on the canvas but it was all one way from beginning to end, Ward now on the first rung of a comeback after a disappointing 2012 where he missed the Olympics.
Last night confirmed how much better he has become. Where Egan looked for points, Ward was shamelessly trying to take him out. To Egan’s credit he lasted the three rounds, afterwards calling Ward “a legend already”.
Aggressive and busy
In the light flyweight division Hugh Myers, aggressive and busy, settled into the seat Paddy Barnes has occupied in recent years. Billy Walsh will now have to decide who goes to the European Championships later this year.
Olympic bronze medallist Barnes, who withdrew because of sickness will probably box off with Myers for a trip to Belarus. Myers worked from a first round lead of 4-2 to beat Belfast’s TJ Waite 17-8.
The other Olympic bronze medallist, Michael Conlan, came through his 52kg final, breezing through the first couple of rounds before a feisty Chris Phelan came at him in the third. But Conlan’s general class, speed and superior footwork ensured he led throughout the fight, going ahead 5-2 after the first round to come in a clear 20-9 winner.