Sunday 18 February 2018

Revitalised Egan insists pressure off for Ward rematch

Bernard O'Neill

KEN EGAN insists he can only "control the controllables" – but can he control European champion Joe Ward?

Ward and Egan will clash in their third successive Elite Championships light-heavyweight final – Ward has won the previous two – at Dublin's National Stadium on Friday.

Egan set up the 2013 edition of the battle of the southpaws with a controlled victory over Davey Joe Joyce at the Stadium on Saturday night, the Neilstown clubman nailing all three rounds in a 13-7 decision.

The win was 31-year-old Egan's 25th from 27 outings at Elite level since 2001, his only reversals coming at the hands of 19-year-old Ward, the 2010 AIBA World Youth champion.

Egan will be seeking to become the first boxer to claim 11 Elite crowns against the Moate champion but his nemesis' emphatic 29-10 victory in the 2012 final will make the 2008 Olympic silver medallist the underdog.

"I'm not even thinking about next week," said Egan (pictured right) after his win over Joyce.

"I'm back into the gym on Monday. We'll work on a few bits and pieces, I'll be in the best possible shape for Friday and whatever happens, happens.

"They tell us in the High Performance, just control the controllables. Tonight was a perfect example. I could only control what was going on in my own head.

"It was a good result in my first competitive fight since Finland last year. I'm happy, enjoying my boxing again, (there's) no pressure on me this year."

Meanwhile, Willie McLaughlin edged Beijing Olympian John Joe Joyce (16-14) in one of the fights of the Championships to set up Friday's welterweight final with defending champion and 2012 Olympian Adam Nolan.

Hannah Carthy, Ceire Smith, Sinead Kavanagh, Claire Grace and Lianne Murphy all also emerged victorious for Saturday's women's finals, Kilkenny ace Carthy beating Maeve Clarke.

TJ Waite, Chris Phelan, Garry McKenna, Roy Sheahan, Jimmy Sweeney, Niall Kennedy and George Bates progressed from the men's semi-finals, with Bates surprising four-time champion David Oliver Joyce.

The men's finals will be held on Friday at the National Stadium with women's World No 1 Katie Taylor meeting Poland's Karolina Graczyk in a support bout in her first outing since winning gold at London 2012.

Irish Independent

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