| 13.8°C Dublin

Olympic dream over for Ward as AIBA refuse wild card

JOE WARD'S hopes of receiving an invitation place for the 2012 Olympic Games have been dashed after world amateur boxing chiefs AIBA yesterday notified the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) that he will not be competing at London 2012.

Ward had been hoping to get a wild-card (invitation place) entry from the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Tripartite Committee, who distribute invitation places.

The AIBA notification stated: " ... following the Olympic Qualifying Guidelines approved by the IOC Executive Board, the next Best Boxer from the 2011 AIBA World Boxing Championships is supposed to be selected. Following the Competition Protocol list, we regrettably found that your boxer does not meet the qualification to be the next Best Boxer in your continent."

IABA High Performance Head Coach Billy Walsh stated that he was extremely disappointed with the decision and that the IABA have written to AIBA seeking clarification in regards to their decision.

The view that Ward does not meet the qualification to be the next 'Best Boxer' in the continent does not appear to stand up to scrutiny as Ward is the current European champion. The 18-year-old Irish southpaw is also currently ranked No 5 in the World by the AIBA themselves.

Ward was beaten by Turkey's Bahram Muzaffer at the final European Olympic qualifier in Trabzon, Turkey in April. However, many observers believe that Ward clearly won that bout.

Meanwhile, Andy Lee's team have asked for clarification from the Texas State Athletic Commissioner as to whether Julio Cesar Chavez Jr carried out an anti-doping drugs test -- and what the results were -- last Saturday when Chavez stopped Lee to successfully defend his middleweight title.

Lee's team are concerned about whether the bout was a level playing field, with Chavez neglecting to provide a urine sample when he beat Marco Antonio Rubio in February,

• Katie Taylor has another major threat to contend with at the Olympic Games after USA lightweight Queen Underwood was handed a wild-card entry.

Underwood caused Taylor problems at the 2010 AIBA World Women's Championships and pushed her all the way in the final round of their semi-final before Taylor rallied to win.

Irish Independent