August 13 Jonny Stapleton
Kenneth Egan passed his first test at heavyweight over the weekend and after winning at domestic level the Beijing light heavyweight silver medallist is confident he can make an impact at the new weight on the world stage.
The Neilstown amateur believes having won the recent Senior Elite Championships he has earned the right to go to the World Championships in Baku in September as Ireland’s heavyweight representative.
The amateur legend beat the 2010 Commonwealth Games silver-medalist Stephen Ward 13-5 on Saturday at the National Staduim to put himself in World championship selection pole.
And despite admitting he only moved up beyond 81 kilos because he was unsure as to what teenage star Joe Ward was going to do, Egan believes he can impress at the Worlds and qualify for the London 2012 Olympics.
“I did my business at a new weight. I am glad I have the win out of the way. There is risk moving up to heavyweight but I have no regrets. I am happy with the choice I made and it worked out for me so far. I believe I can go to the world championships and qualify for the Olympic games I have that belief in myself,” Egan said before stressing he believes he will be on the plan to Azerbaijan latter this year.
“I should be going as Ireland’s heavyweight representative there is no one else they can send after I won this tournament. The team is yet to be announced but I am nearly sure I am on the team. At this stage I don’t care what the team is I am thinking selfish and just hoping I make it.”
Egan was tempted to fight for his place on the plane to Baku as Ireland’s light heavyweight representative, but took the big risk of moving up to a power laden division as he feared Ward might avoid him and still get selected at his expense.
“I made the decision to move up about two and three weeks ago after Joe won the gold in the European championships. I thought he was probably going to be selected for the Worlds. Then when I heard about him not weighing in I was thinking what would happen if I won here at light heavy and he didn’t compete. Who would they send then?”
Egan’s progression to the bigger weight wasn’t all plain sailing. He suffered a baptism of fire against Ulster’s Tommy McCarthy in the semi final. Despite out boxing McCarthy one of Ireland’s most decorated domestic amateurs was forced to take an eight count late in round three.
However, despite admitting he will be up against bigger punchers at heavyweight the Clondalkin native claims he is more concerned about increasing his power than his punch resistance.
“Obviously the lads I will be fighting will be more powerful but as the old man says if they can’t hit you they can’t hurt you. I will be working on my power in the gym. I know I have relied on skill a lot but I need a bit of power to stand and discourage the heavyweights from coming onto me.”