BOXING FANS witnessed a wonderful night's entertainment in Arklow last Saturday night when the Arklow Boxing club put on a superb show that featured the skills of Joe Ward and the nephew of Wexford's Billy Walsh.
A massive crowd spilled into the Arklow Bay Hotel for this superb event with hotel staff estimating as many as 600 people cheering on Arklow's Sean Allen as he stood toe to toe with Westmeath's Ward who is widely tipped to become Ireland's next Olympic gold medal winner in Rio in 2016.
Both boxers put on a tremendous fight with Ward's speed and power keeping him out f trouble against the keen and brave Allen who never stopped trying and who fought to the bitter end.
Dean Walsh from the St Ibars club in Wexford and who is the nephew of Wexford and Ireland star Billy Walsh was also on the card and he showed that skill and speed does run in the family when he took on Arklow's Aaron Lyons and won convincingly.
For the home side Liam Moore was the first to get the club off to a winning start when he beat Our Lady of Fatima boxer Liam Gregory Hayes.
Overall it was a really enjoyable night of boxing with some top skill on display throughout. The Arklow club would like to express their thanks to Sean Allen and Joe Ward for putting on such a spectacle of boxing that was enjoyed by one and all.
The club will also be holding two other tournaments in their gymnasium before Christmas.
The first against Ryston Boxing Club which is the strongest club in Ireland after receiving the award on Friday night at the IABA awards function in Dublin and the second will be against the newly formed Rathnew Boxing Club and both events should not be missed. WESTMEATH'S Joe Ward was the star of Arklow Boxing Clubs Annual boxing tournament in the Arklow Bay hotel last Friday night when the World Junior and Youth Champion took on Arklow's Sean Allen.
The Arklow man can be proud of his performance. The Irish Intermediate champion and Leinster Senior champion kept trying all through the three rounds and did have some success with his right to the body but it was Joe's speed that kept him on top after every exchange.
Joe Ward has beaten the current Olympic champion from Russia in a tournament in Germany. He also beat Kenneth Egan, Ireland's Olympic silver medallist in Beijing by a huge margin in the Irish Senior final this year.
Sean could have taken an easier opponent for the tournament but as the club needs funds to build a much-needed extension, Sean felt that the fight with Joe would bring the crowds and it did as it was the biggest attendance at a tournament the club has ever had. In fact the hotel staff estimated it could have been anywhere from 500 to 600 people. Credit must go to both boxers for their performance. Joe now starts training for the World Series of boxing where he will disregard the headguard and vest. Sean will return to training next week and could be back in action before Christmas.
The big crowd was treated to a feast of top class boxing which started with three exhibitions.
The first was a girl's bout between Leah Browne and Enya Conroy, both from Arklow, and both boxers displayed their skills in defence and attack.
The second was a classic in attacking boxing between Andre Kurachenko and Eimhin McCormack. Both boxers know one another so well and held nothing back to the crowds delight.
In the final exhibition Owen Moore from Arklow showed some good footwork and counter punching against John Connors from Ballywailtrim.
In the first bout of the night Ryan Kenny was extremely unlucky to lose to Colm Walsh from St Mary's. Ryan scored at long range but Walsh was stronger at close quarters. Nathan McMcCarthy also lost on a split decision to Chris Wall from Ballywailtrim with both boxers giving their all in a great contest. Tomas lynch put in a good display against Brandon Dodds from Donard but was also unlucky in losing by a split decision.
What was considered a total surprise was when Sean Crowley also lost a split decision when it seemed that Sean had done enough at long range to win against Ryan Kirwan out of Sacre Couer.
Arklow finally got a win when Liam Moore kept the pressure on Liam Gregory Hayes of Our Lady of Fatima club in Wicklow. Hayes was first to attack but when Moore got going he had the Wicklow boy under pressure and came out the winner. Conor Kenny Arklow gave a fine performance of boxing skills when he out pointed Michael Kehoe out of Sacre Couer. Aaron Lyons came up against an in form Dean Walsh from St Ibars who had too much punching power. Aaron tried hard but couldn't match the Wexford boxer. Arklow's Elaine Harrison was the unluckiest boxer of the night, when having won the first three rounds of her four-round fight with Kilkenny's Ciara Dowling had to withdraw with an eye injury in the fourth.
Fergal Redmond looked to have done enough to beaten Jonathan Dowling from Paulstown but the Kilkenny boxer got the decision. Dowling admitting himself afterwards that he thought he had lost.
Arklow's Colm O'Neill gave a fine exhibition of boxing to outpoint Keith Dwyer from Clonard. Colm's left jab was his main weapon. Arklows Darragh Keenan had an epic crowd pleasing battle with Simon Bongu from Drimnagh before losing again to a split decision. Adam Keenan never took a step back against Luke Kelly of Drimnagh but was picked off by the Dublin boxers left jabs.
Arklow club officials would like to thank all our supporters and our sponsors who without their support a show like Friday's would not be possible.
The club wish to thank all the referees and judges and to all the boxers from both the Arklow club and visiting clubs and of course to Sean Allen and Joe Ward for such a tremendous crowd pleaser.