European champ Joe Ward will stay with Irish boxing team until 2020

Joe Ward
Joe Ward

Triple European boxing gold medallist Joe Ward has turned his back on a move to the professional ranks and will captain the Irish team at next month’s World boxing championships in Hamburg.

He has also revealed that he will stay with the Irish boxing team for the next Olympics in 2020.

The new Head of the IABA’s High Performance Unit, Bernard Dunne played a key role in persuading the 23 year old Moate southpaw to remain with the team.

“I’m staying around. We sat down, Bernard and myself and also my family and I saw the vision he wants for this team and what I can bring to the team and I felt it would be the right decision for me to stay around until Tokyo.

“Now I’m focussed on the World Championships which is only six weeks away. I got selected as Ireland captain to lead this team into Tokyo. It’s a great honour for me and I think it will be great for me to stay around and show this team the way,” said Ward who has won silver and bronze medals at previous World championships.

Meanwhile, in another boost to the team, Clonmel super heavyweight Dean Gardiner has secured selection for the World championships in Hamburg where he will be joined by Ward, Brendan Irvine, Kurt Walker and Sean McComb.

Gardiner was stopped by the eventual gold medallist Viktor Vykhryst in a last 16 bout at the recent European championships.  He finished in ninth place overall.

The European silver medallist Frazer Clarke from England has been forced to withdraw from the World championships due to injury and as first reserve Gardiner is now eligible to compete in Hamburg.