Sunday 18 February 2018

Boxing: Ward's Olympic boxing dream finally over as last-ditch appeal rejected

Joe Ward, Moate B.C., Westmeath, representing Ireland, during his 81kg bout with Dilovarshakh Abdurakhmanov, Tajikistan.
Joe Ward, Moate B.C., Westmeath, representing Ireland, during his 81kg bout with Dilovarshakh Abdurakhmanov, Tajikistan.

Vincent Hogan in London

Joe Ward's final hope of getting to the London Olympics disappeared last night with confirmation that his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has failed.

The 19-year-old Moate light-heavyweight had taken a last-minute challenge to the decision of a Tripartite Commission not to grant him a 'wild card' entry after his controversial defeat in the final qualifying tournament in Trabzon against Turkish opponent Bahran Muzaffer last April.

Yesterday's CAS ruling was two-fold, essentially arguing that it did not have the jurisdiction to deal with Ward's application but adding that, even if it had, the challenge would have been dismissed.

Ward, a European light-heavyweight champion at 17, is currently ranked No 4 in the AIBA rankings but, in June, the 'wild card' entry went to a Montenegrin boxer, Bosko Draskovic, instead. Draskovic is not listed in the latest official world rankings, which run to 36 places.

"We're disappointed for Joe," admitted Irish head coach Billy Walsh last night, "but I couldn't really see it happening this close to the Games. If the criteria used had been world rankings, Joe would obviously be here."

Irish Independent

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