Ward secures medal but sets sights on gold
Joe Ward is guaranteed his fifth elite championship medal and his third in the World Championships after he overwhelmed Mikhail Dauhaliavets from Belarus in a one-sided quarter-final last night.
Ward will bid to upgrade to at least silver on Friday night, but he won't have to face his nemesis, Julio de la Cruz, who beat the Irishman in the last two World tests, as the Cuban is on the other side of the draw.
The Irishman used his right jab and brilliant footwork to keep his opponent, whom he beat in the quarter-finals at both the European and World Championships in 2015, at bay.
The Belarus fighter cut a frustrated figure long before the end, though he did catch Ward with one decent right at the start of the third round.
Noticeably since the rule change resulted in boxers no longer being told what the score is at the end of individual rounds, Ward has stepped up his performances in the last stanza. He acknowledged that previously he had been inclined to ease up in the final round of bouts.
Not so on this occasion, and Ward looks fitter than at possibly than any time in his career.
At times it is easy for overlook the fact that he won't celebrate his 24th birthday until October.
"It is a magnificent achievement for Joe to have won three medals at World Championship level in addition to his three European titles at the age of 23.
"I hope everybody at home appreciates what he has done," said Bernard Dunne, the new head of the IABA's High Performance programme.
Four of the officials scored the fight 30-27, while the German judge gave Ward the victory 30 -26.
"It was another good performance. I felt comfortable all the way there. I performed well. I met this man before I knew what he would do," said Ward.
"He'd come forward in the first few seconds and then he would burn off and I knew to keep the pressure on him and pick him off as he burned off."
Ward acknowledged that he wouldn't be happy leaving Hamburg with a bronze medal.
"I have a world silver and a world bronze. I came here to perform and see how far it takes me and I am performing at the moment.
"There is still another gear left. I am looking forward to any challenge every fight is a challenge for me," Ward added.