Tuesday 23 January 2018

Joe Ward through to World Championship final after narrow win over Bektemir Melikuziev

Joe Ward lands a telling blow. Credit: @AIBA_Boxing
Joe Ward lands a telling blow. Credit: @AIBA_Boxing
Joe Ward of Ireland during an IABA Boxing open training session at the Institute of Sport in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Sean McGoldrick

There was a silver lining for Ireland's Joe Ward tonight in Hamburg when he advanced to the light heavyweight final at the World championships for the second successive time.

The 23-year-old Moate pugilist just edged out his Uzbek opponent Bektemir Melikuzieve on a split 3-2 decision.

It was an outstanding fight which in truth have gone either way. This was illustrated by the fact that the Indian judge gave the decision to the Uzbek boxer 30-27.

However, two other judges favoured the treble European champion 30-27 while one other judge just favoured the Irishman 29-28.

Ward fell to his knees when the decision was announced. After the bitter disappointment of the Olympic last summer, this tournament has been one of redemption for Ward, who now gets an opportunity for another battle against his Cuban nemesis, Julio La Cruz who beat him in the last two world championships.

But for the moment Ward can celebrate becoming the first Irish male boxer to secure two silver medals – and a bronze – at World championship level.

“It was a very close fight. It was a very tough fight. Both of us had our moments in it. But I felt like I was doing enough. I was catching him with the cleaner punches and I deserved to win it.” said Ward.

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