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Egan vows to carry on as Olympic dream dies

Reigning Olympic silver-medallist, Kenneth Egan, will not retire after Joe Ward won the right to fight for a London place.

kenneth Egan after Friday's defeat by Joe ward
kenneth Egan after Friday's defeat by Joe ward
Image: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

IN THE AFTERMATH of Friday night’s hotly anticipated bout, the defeated Kenneth Egan insisted that retirement was not on his mind.

Egan is now 30 and has lost consecutively to his 81kg rival, the 18-year-old Joe Ward.

Speaking to Newstalk this morning, the Olympic silver medalist re-affirmed his desire to fight on after what he called “a bad night at the office” at the National Stadium on Friday.

Although he sustained a disabling finger injury, Egan remained magnanimous to the impressive young Ward, now a double champion.

“(Ward) has a great chance of qualifying now as long as he just stays focused and keeps in shape he’ll be hard to beat. I wish him the best of luck.
He went out there on Friday with a lot of pressure on him aswell. It’s his second senior title and he went out there and performed – he boxed well, he had a good game plan and he stuck to it.”

“It was a case of the underdog against the champion. Joe is a great champion, it’s hard to believe he’s only 18 years of age.” Egan added.

On the night, Ward demolished the elder statesman by the hugely convincing score of 29-10, a difference in class and power which Egan felt no other Irish pugilist could have matched.

“That’s my 12th senior finals in row, I’ve been around a long time. It’d just a pity I had to come up against someone as strong as Joe in my 12th. Because if Joe wasn’t around I probably would have went to the qualifiers.

“But listen that’s boxing, that’s Sport. There’s always going to be someone at your heels and it’s great that Ireland has that standard and depth. Not only at the 81 kilo (grade) it’s across the board in all different weights. Ireland is getting stronger and stronger.”

To his credit, Egan harboured no resentment towards the victor and wished Ward the best of luck on his quest for gold in London where, he says, a favourable draw could land Ward with a high possibility of a medal.

As the for the reigning Olympic silver-medallist, it’s time to step back from the ring, but not for too long.

“I’m going to take a week or two off now and relax, let this finger heal. Then I’ll get back into training and there’ll be a few internationals later in the year, i’m not retiring or anything like that.”

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“I’m going to relax now for a week and do nothing. I’m going to eat all round me. As far as Joe (is concerned) I was talking to him after the fight and I wished him the best of luck and he went out there on Friday night and he proved to everyone that he is a true champion.

“Hopefullly he will go on now and pull (Olympic) medals, along with Darren O’Neill and Mick Conlan and (John-Joe) Nevin too.”

Ward will now travel to Istanbul this April for the European Olympic qualifiers. There he must reach the final to guarantee himself one of the three remaining places in the light-heavyweight division in London.

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Sean Farrell

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