By Jonny Stapleton
Barry McGuigan believes Irish light heavyweight senior champion Joe Ward is a ‘world class talent’ that is certain to earn a medal for Ireland in London 2012 if he secures Olympic qualification.
The 1980 Irish Olympian and former World champion was ringside with his protégé Carl Frampton, as the teen sensation took apart Beijing silver medallist Kenny Egan in the National Stadium last Friday- and was impressed with what he saw.
However, despite seeing medal potentail and ability in the Moat Club man, the Irish boxing legend claims Ward has to get his preparation right to qualify for the games.
Ward wasted a great opportunity to secure his London 2012 place when losing to Middle Eastern opposition in the World Championships and now heads to Turkey for the final qualifiers in April.
And McGuigan, who recently predicted gold for Katie Taylor on the biggest stage of all, believes the two time Irish senior champ needs regular sparring and continuity to ensure he doesn’t fall at the final qualification hurdle.
“He’s a world class talent, no question about it. He just needs to keep fit. He came into last year’s seniors on the back of the world junior championships, so he had continuity. He needs to have continuity between now and the Olympic Games,” McGuigan told Ward’s local Westmeath Independent.
“He’s going to go to Turkey because of his dominant performance over Egan, but between now and then he needs to have more international training camps. He needs those camps to keep himself busy and keep sparring with top quality guys. He’s maybe lacking a bit of fitness and competition sharpness, but he’s a superb talent and I have no doubt that he’ll be among the medals this summer.”