Rio 2016: Joe Ward left to rue docked points as Olympic dream ends
Relentless Carlos Andres Mina causes upset after referee penalises Westmeath boxer
Joe Ward is heading home from the Olympics after he lost his opening bout to Ecuador’s Carlos Andres Mina on a split decision. Photograph: Reuters
Ireland’s Joe Ward was defeated in his first bout of the Rio Olympics after a split decision went against him in the Riocentro Complex. The Irish light heavyweight was critically warned twice by the Chinese referee and two points were deducted in the second and third rounds, which effectively cost him the match.
Had those points not been deducted Ward would have comfortably won the bout.
“I’m very disappointed. I felt I was doing enough but I’m very disappointed with the way the referee got involved in the fight,” said a tearful Ward afterwards.
“The two points effectively cost me the fight. I was winning it and he got involved for no reason.
That was a fair reading of it, although the twice European Champion should not have let the bout descend into the scrappy fight it became. Mina was taller with a longer reach and skipped into the ring pumping up the crowd.
While Ward’s right jab began to work from the beginning and he appeared to be landing the cleaner shots, Mina was making it a messy fight.
Ward won the first round on a split decision but midway through the second the referee awarded the first of the two points against him. It was unclear what the point deduction was for but he seemed to indicate both a low head and holding.
That effectively handed Mina the second round again on a split decision. The Ecuadorian continued to tangle up Ward and the Irishman failed to find a rythmn. Still he seemed to be doing enough until the second point went against him to swing the fight.
“He (Mina) was doing most of the holding - he was pulling and dragging. But it’s done now,” said Ward.
Ward will now face a decision whether he wants to turn professional or hang in for another four years for the Tokyo Olympics. He is still just 22-years-old and a proven medal winner in amateur, or Olympic boxing.