Joe Ward admits to being ‘stung’ after surprisingly failing to qualify for London 2012, but the Moat light heavyweight talent is ready to hit back in Rio.
Ward, like most fans and pundits, was shocked when he failed to qualify for the London Olympics. He was the victim of a poor decision en route to qualifying in one tournament and would admit he was a fault for his exit to a fighter he was expected to beat in another.
The young star, who replaced 2008 silver medal winner Kenny Egan as Ireland’s #1 light heavy, has used the hurt to drive him on and he has qualified for Rio and will be fancied to medal if he performs to his best.
“I’ve always wanted to box in the Olympic Games,” he told the Evening Herald. “Not going to London stung me, because I’d been so successful while growing up. It was a step back for me but I kept my head down and stuck at it. I said, ‘My chance will come again’. And, thankfully, when it did, I took it.”
Ward like Paddy Barnes, Micheal Conlan and co doesn’t seem content with just securing a place on the plane the 22 year old talent is aiming for a podium finish.
He claims the High Performance are training to be champions not competitors this Summer.
“We’ve a great team around us,” he says. “We all have a pathway and we’re preparing like champions. We’re going to give ourselves the best opportunity to become champions.”