Ward defeats Egan to retain his title

Joe Ward retained  his Irish Elite light-heavyweight title following a commanding win  over Ken Egan at the National Stadium in Dublin last  night.
The “clash of the  southpaws”, a repeat of the 2011 final which Ward also won, saw the current  European champion rack up a 29-10 victory over the 2008 Olympic silver  medalist.
Egan probably  scored the first point of this encounter with a right jab within the first three  seconds. However, from that point on Ward began to take control of the contest and claimed the first 9-5 before  forcing Egan into a standing count in the second en route to stretching his lead  17-8 by the end of the round.
The third round  was all Ward also, and while Egan managed to find the target with his trademark  jabs, the 2010 AIBA World Youth champion was picking up more scores  with some power-packed combinations.
It was an  emphatic statement of intent by the 18-year-old, who, if he remains at  light-heavy, looks set to dominate the 81Kg division in Ireland in the second  decade of the 21st century the same way  that Egan  dominated the opening 10-years.
“I’m delighted  with my performance. I went in there with the right tactics. I used them well  and I got the right result, said Ward, who also scooped the boxer of the  Championships award.
“I knew if I made  him miss he would walk into the big shots. No disrespect to  him, he came out in the first round to fight. He did not come out to move – he  came out to go forward.
“I really enjoyed  it. I knew what was going to happen and how long it would take because I had the  bigger shots. I had the technique in them and I really performed well.”
“Kenny is a  legend. It’s good  that there is someone new coming in taking over from  Kenny. Hopefully I can do as much as he  did.”
Egan, gracious in  defeat, said that if Ward qualified for the Olympics that he would put money on  him to finish amongst the medals.
Meanwhile,  Michael McDonagh withstood a third round surge from David Oliver Joyce  to secure a 17-14 victory over the St Michael’s Athy lightweight. Joyce put in a big three minutes here, but  defending champion McDonagh met fire with fire in a rematch of the 2011  decider
There  was further disappointment for the Athy BC, after Adam Nolan, the defending  champion, beat Beijing Olympian John Joe  Joyce.
Nolan, who boxes  out of the Bray BC,  held a 12-10 lead going down the final stretch of this  three-rounder and was also in possession of a two point advantage at  the end of a thrilling third  frame.
However, there was no Bray BC double tonight after Ross  Hickey retained the light-welterweight title at the expense of Stephen  Coughlan.  Hickey. a bronze medal winner at the 2008 European Championships, fired home some excellent  right hooks throughout this encounter on his way to an impressive 21-5  verdict.
Belfast  heavyweight Tommy McCarthy landed his first Irish Elite title at the third time  of asking. The Ulster ace, who was beaten by Ken Egan in the 2009 and 2010  light-heavyweight finals, did it the spectacular way  also, knocking out Christy Joyce with a big right 20 seconds from the final  bell.
Waterford  light-flyweight Lynne McEnery claimed the first title of the evening following a  hard-fought victory over Oliwia Samsanov. McEnery held a  4-2 advantage at the end of the first en route to a 16-13  verdict.
World number  eight Paddy Barnes and Hugh Myres shared an exciting first frame 8-8, Barnes  landing damaging looking body shots, Myres responding  with right hooks to the head.
The second saw  more of the same, Barnes finding the body and head with combinations, Myres’  right hand over the top picking up some valuable points to leave  the light-flyweight decider poised on a 14-13 advantage to Barnes going into the  final three minutes.
However,   Barnes, the 2010 European champion, pulled away to secure a 21-17  win – and his sixth title in-a-row – from a top class  contest.
“No easy fights  here. I was surprised.They were fast punches but they were not heavy. We were  catching each other with shots to the body. I’m confident I can get one of the  four qualifying spots (at the Olympic qualifiers in Turkey in April). I  feel I’m the best in Europe and I want to prove that. I want about three more  flights  and I’ll be flying.”  said Barnes after his  win.
London 2012  Olympian John Joe Nevin recorded a landslide 23-3 win over his cousin  Michael Nevin in the bantamweight final. Michael, who boxed bravely  throughout, took a standing count off a combination  near the end of  the second and was dropped by a right in the third as  two-time AIBA World medalist John Joe cruised to his fifth Elite crown on-the  trot.
World Youth  bronze medalist Michaela Walsh took a standing count in the third versus Dervla  Duffy in the women’s featherweight final. However, it was Walsh’s hand that was  raised in victory by a two-point margin at the end of four  entertaining rounds.
Irish 2012  Olympian Michael Conlan registered the red corner’s fifth straight win of the  night versus Chris Phelan in the first of the televised bouts. Conlan, who had  his dad and brother, John and Jamie, working his corner, earned a 19-11 decision over  Chris Phelan to successfully defend the flyweight title he won for the first  time in 2011.
Conlan took the  first round 6-2 and was  13-7 up at the end of the second. The Belfast  stylist landed a stunning right in the final stanza of this encounter,  but, and credit to Phelan, the Ryston  BC man kept firing in punches right up to the concluding  bell.
Defending  champion and 2012 Olympian Darren O’Neill received a walkover in the  middleweight section after Conor Coyle withdrew  injured.
Con Sheehan  secured his fifth Irish title in-a-row after chalking up a 25-10 win over Dublin  super-heavyweight Sean Turner. The Drimnagh BC clubman raised the decibels with  a sustained flurry mid- way through the second, but Sheehan regained the  momentum to post a convincing win.
All of tonight’s  winners were boxing out of the red corner.
Adam McClean,  Martin Brereton, Stephen Reynolds and Denis Galvin received awards tonight for  their service and loyalty to Irish amateur  boxing.
The quartet were  presented with their awards by the Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin,  Michael O’Sullivan.
The 2012 Elite  National Championships were proudly sponsored by the Irish Daily  Star.
Elite 2012 Championships  Finals February 3rd (7.30pm) National Stadium  Dublin
(Running order)
48Kg: (Light-flyweight): Lynne McEnery (St Pauls) beat Oliwia  Samsanov (Cavan) 16-13
49Kg: (Light-flyweight) Paddy Barnes (Holy Family) beat Hugh  Myres (Ryston) 21-17
56Kg: (Bantamweight) John Joe Nevin (Cavan) beat Michael Nevin  (Portlaoise) 23-3
57Kg: (Featherweight) Michaela Walsh (Holy Family) beat Dervla Duffy  (Ryston) 15-13
52Kg: (Flyweight) Michael Conlan (St John Bosco) beat Chris  Phelan (Ryston) 19-11
81Kg: (Light-heavyweight) Joe Ward (Moate) beat Ken Egan (Neilstown)  29-10
60Kg: (Lightweight) Michael McDonagh (St Marys) beat David Oliver  Joyce (St Michaels Athy) 17-14
75Kg: (Middleweight) Darren O’Neill (Paulstown) beat Conor Coyle (St  Josephs) W/O
69Kg: (Welterweight) Adam Nolan (Bray) beat John Joe Joyce (St  Michaels Athy) 17-15
64Kg: (Light-welterweight) Ross Hickey (Grangecon) beat Stephen  Coughlan (Bray) 21-5
91Kg: (Heavyweight) Tommy McCarthy (Oliver Plunkett) beat Christy  Joyce (St Michael’s Athy) KO3
91+Kg: (Super-heavyweight) Con Sheehan (Clonmel) beat Sean Turner  (Drimnagh) 25-10
Boxer of the Championships: Joe Ward (Moate  BC)

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