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Saturday 27 February 2021
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Irish boxer Joe Ward moves a step closer to becoming a world champion

There was disappointment for Seán McComb, however.

Joe Ward
Joe Ward
Image: Kostadin Andonov/INPHO

Updated at 18.55

Ciarán Gallagher reports from Doha

JOE WARD’S LONG wait for action at the World Championships in Doha has ended in success after a 3-0 unanimous-decision win over Oleksandr Kyyzhniak of Ukraine, but Belfast’s Seán McComb suffered an agonising defeat to old foe Albert Selimov of Azerbaijan.

Moate light-heavyweight Ward is now through to the quarter-finals of the competition, along with Michael Conlan, Michael O’Reilly and Brendan Irvine.

The 2013 World bronze medallist boxed with a noticeable level of spite in his punches having waited four days to step into the ring, knocking Kyyzhniak’s gumshield out in the second round. Ward took his foot off the gas in the last round but recorded a 29-28 points win on all three cards.

“The first two rounds I was very in control, the last round I knew I was winning the fight and I took my foot off the gas a wee bit, but overall I’m delighted with the win,” said Ward after his opening fight at the Worlds.

The 21-year-old will fight Mikhail Dauhaliavets of Belarus tomorrow, an opponent he defeated en route to European gold last summer.

Conlan, O’Reilly and Irvine will also be in last-eight action, with a win sealing a bronze medal at the least – although Olympic qualification depends on a top-two or top-three finish in most weight categories. Conlan is the only Irish fighter already booked for Rio via his success in the World Series of Boxing earlier this year.

Sean McComb dejected after losing Seán McComb Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

McComb came very close to joining the Fab Four in the quarters but lost out on a 2-1 split-decision to Selimov, who defeated the Belfast lightweight in the European Games last June.

The cliché of a chess-match fight is more than appropriate for a bout that saw only a handful of punches thrown in the first round. McComb appeared to land more, but only one judge scored the opener to him – something the 23-year-old claimed upset his game-plan against the third seed and former world champion.

“I thought I won the first round, and it changes the whole game-plan [when you don’t], going from plan A to plan B,” said McComb, who is determined to immediately bounce back in the Irish national seniors next month.

“I’ve come on a lot from the last time I boxed him to this time and this was closer again. The next time I’ll be sure to beat him,” he added.

– First published at 15.40

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Ciarán Gallagher

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