Joe Ward and Jason Quigley into World Championship semis
Donegal middleweight records impressive unanimous victory over Zoltan Harsca, Moate man stops Russian in first round
Light-heavyweight Joe Ward after he stopped Russian opponent Nikita Ivanov early in the bout to record a technical knockout. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
There were polarised emotions in the Irish team as three dejected fighters left the draw and two others, 19-year-old Joe Ward and 22-year-old Jason Quigley, sought to evict the air of despondency that at intervals through the day crept over the Irish camp.
The manner in which both earned semi-final places were different but emphatically upbeat and in a way that adds another layer to boxing’s knack of building a winning tradition. Two in the semi-finals, it’s another first.
Ward continued his charging run from injury-prone, hexed teen prodigy to the man that shattered Russian hopes in the light heavyweight division, with Quigley’s breezy competence cooling the hopes of Hungary.
There Ireland might stand accused of selective bullying. Ward beat Norbert Harcsa a couple of days ago only for Quigley to bring down his older brother Zoltan yesterday.
Ward’s stopping of Russia’s Nikita Inavov took just two minutes 22 seconds, a deep laceration above the Russians left eye leaving the referee in no doubt. Ward faces second seed Cuban Julio Peraza tomorrow for a place in the final.
Shaping the match
What will please him is that he was the one shaping the match, his heavy left backhand downloading on Ivanov’s body while consistently pushing him backwards and producing the cleaner shots in the flurried exchanges.
The incident itself looked innocuous and Ward still doesn’t know how the cut occurred, whether it was a head clash or the initial blow that forced Ivanov to career down onto Ward’s head.
“I was very comfortable in there,” said Ward. “I knew I had to meet him every time and thank God it didn’t take too much out of me. It was a punch that caught him as he came in forward but he fell forward and I’m not sure if the punch did the damage or my head. I’ll take it any way. I need a bit of luck.
“I’m going to enjoy myself now for the evening and concentrate from tomorrow. It’s a huge achievement and I’m enjoying every moment of it. European gold medal at 17 and at least a bronze medal in the World Championships at 19, what more can I ask for. I’m so proud.
“To be honest after the European Championships (knee injury) I sat down and I was thinking to myself what am I going to do because I didn’t really think I was going to make it to the World Championships. I said I’d get back up and give it a hell of a shot to get back on the team and hopefully make it for the worlds and here I am.”