Joe Ward, from Moate, Co Westmeath claimed Gold for Ireland on the finals day of the International Youth tournament in memory of Abbas Agalarov in Baku with a convincing win over Kazakhstan’s Abdeshnov Denislan . The contest held at the Sport Palace , in the Azerbaijani capital initially involved 89 sportsmen from seven countries including Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Uzbekistan, China, Georgia and Ireland.
The current AIBA World middleweight Youth champ, Ward was awarded a richly deserved 6 – 1 victory in the final bout – later he had another cause to celebrate winning the ‘ Boxer of the tournament’ award. The highly promising Ward also won gold in the same tournament last year before going on to win the AIBA World Youth Championships in the same city in 2010 –Joe later moved up to the light-heavyweight division. . Certainly one to watch and a young man who could blossom into a fine prospect for London 2012.
Irish coaches Jimmy Payne and Eddie Bolger were full of praise for Ward and the Irish squad who took home one gold and four bronze medals from Baku.
Said Payne: “Joe was magnificent and we are absolutely delighted with his performance. The final was his third bout in three days and he’s beaten the best out here. The entire squad gave it everything at this tournament and we couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
Bronze medals were gained by Declan Milligan, Michael McDonagh ,Kieron Forde and Crumlin’s Evan Metcalfe in his first representative bout for Ireland just a week after winning the National Intermediate title in the National Stadium .