Monday 18 December 2017

Joe Ward advances to Light Heavyweight final with emphatic unanimous decision win over Manfredonia

Joe Ward of Ireland during his Light Heavyweight Quarter-final bout with Scotland's Sean Lazzerini during the EUBC Continental Championships at Kharkiv in the Ukraine. Photo by AIBA via Sportsfile
Joe Ward of Ireland during his Light Heavyweight Quarter-final bout with Scotland's Sean Lazzerini during the EUBC Continental Championships at Kharkiv in the Ukraine. Photo by AIBA via Sportsfile

Sean McGoldrick

Joe Ward cruised into the Light Heavyweight final at the European Boxing Championship with an emphatic 5-0 win over Italian opponent Valentino Manfredonia in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

The Moate southpaw remains on target to retain his Euro title in the 81kg division and secure his third gold medal in the tournament – he won his first European title in 2011 - but missed out on the next two years due to a freak injury when he dislocated his knee cap 20 seconds from the end of his first fight.

The Italian had beaten Darren O’Neill on a split decision in the 2014 EU light heavyweight final but he was no match for Ward, and apart from one brief moment at the end of the first round, he couldn’t get close to the Irishman.

Having picked up a nick over his right eye in round one he made little effort afterwards to engage with Ward.

Ward completely dominated the fight and this was reflected on the scorecards afterwards. Four of the judges gave Ward the decision 30-27, whereas one judge scored the fight 30-25, which was probably a more accurate reflection of the pattern of the contest.

The Rio Olympian faces Russian Muslin Gadshimagomedov in Saturday’s final. He also had a comprehensive 5-0 win in his semi-final.

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