By Jonny Stapleton
IRELAND looks set for one of its biggest ever domestic amateur bouts, as all time great Kenny Egan and exciting prospect Joe Ward will do battle to keep their Olympic dream alive in next year’s National Senior Championships.
Egan is off the drink and has a craving for boxing success again.
He confirmed Monday teenager Ward’s shock failure to qualify for London 2012 via the
World Championships has given him a second chance and inspired him to end his short and unsuccessful stay at heavyweight.
The 29 year old, whose antics outside the ring have shadowed his mammoth achievements in it of late, plans to relive his Olympic experience at his teammate’s expense.
The Neilstown fighter, who revealed his drinking hell, got so bad he grew to dislike his Olympic medal, is back from the brink and at a weight he feels he belongs. He is determined to regain the Irish title he held for nigh on a decade and is confident he can beat the fighter that prevented him making history last year.
Speaking with the kind of honesty that makes the Clondlakin native’s book Kenny Egan My Story a must read Egan told Mirror Sport.
“I have to drop back down to light heavyweight. There is only one Olympic place left at heavyweight and three at light heavyweight. Qualifying at heavyweight is too much to do. I am not a heavyweight boxer. I had to move up because they were going to send Joe to the World Championships and he deserved to go he was European Champion. I couldn’t believe he got beaten by the Iranian in the worlds but as soon as he was I started to think I have a chance to go to London at my weight. I wouldn’t begrudge anyone a place in the Olympics. I know hard it is to get there, but in saying that though the door is open for me again,” Egan explained before commenting on the fans excitement regarding the clash.
“It is a massive fight and if we both make the final it will sell the Stadium out on its own. I am sure it will be a cracker. I wasn’t myself last year and everything that could have gone wrong did. I wasn’t myself either but he won the title and well done to him. This year I believe it will be a different story.”
Beating Ward would mean Egan would jet of to Istanbull in April in a bid to claim one of three Olympic light heavyweight berths still to be filled.
However, despite admitting he hopes to fight in London and Brazil 2016, the most decorated man in Irish amateur boxing claims he is applying the same ‘one day at a time’ mantra to his fight career that he now applies to his drink problem.
Egan, who hopes his book will help people in all walks of life, also admitted for the first time in his career he is an underdog at national level.
“I want to qualify for the Olympics but I’m not looking past the Nationals. It is one day at a time for me. It is that way regarding staying off the drink and with fighting. I had a great career and I have been on top of the amateur ranks for 15 years. Billy Walsh said I am the most consistent amateur around. I might be under dog this time, but I don’t mind that at all. I am not finished yet.”