Egan's hand forced by Ward's meteoric rise
Ken Egan has admitted that Joe Ward winning gold at the European Championships in June persuaded him to move up to heavyweight.
Egan has switched from light-heavyweight (81kg) to heavyweight (91kg) for the Open Unseeded Elite Competition, which began at the National Stadium in Dublin last night.
The Beijing Olympic silver medallist had been aiming for his 11th Elite title in a row in last February's Elite Championship at the stadium, but he was beaten by Ward (17), who then went on to claim light-heavyweight gold at the European Senior Championships in Ankara, Turkey.
"As soon as I heard Joe won gold at the Europeans, my mind was made up to move up a weight. It was a fantastic achievement for someone so young to win gold in Europe, fantastic," said Egan.
"My objective all along is to qualify for the Olympic Games in London. All my focus is on that and I'm leaving nothing to chance."
Crumlin BC lost three in a row as the Elite competition got under way last night with five welterweight bouts.
Beijing Olympian John Joe Joyce claimed an 18-8 victory in the first contest of the evening against 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Paddy Gallagher.
Joyce will now meet Roy Sheehan in an all St Michael's Athy quarter-final this morning.
Karl Brabazon carved out a hard-fought 16-9 win over fellow Dubliner Martin Wall. Paul Upton bagged a 13-10 win over Fergal Redmond.
Michael O'Reilly beat Brian Brosnan 13-8, while Ulster's Stephen Donnelly completed a disappointing night for Crumlin BC with a convincing 14-4 win over Graham Hogan.