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Storm as Ward dream is over

JOE Ward, one of Ireland's leading medal hopes for the London Olympics, was sensationally beaten in the final Olympic qualifier amid a storm of controversy.

The 18-year-old light-heavyweight lost 18-15 to Turkey's Bahran Muzaffer, who was easily defeated by Kenny Egan at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, in the Turkish city of Trabzon last night.

The livid Irish camp appealed the decision but the result was upheld and the Moate native's Olympic dream is over for 2012.

Ranked number three in the world, Ward (above) was an overwhelming favourite to qualify but Tommy Murphy, President of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association, believes the Irish star was the victim of a blatant hometown decision.

"I feel Joe was done out of tonight's fight by a local decision. I have no doubt about it and I have been involved in boxing all my life," said Murphy.

"As far as I'm concerned Joe won the first two rounds and rattled his opponent in the third and the result still went against him."