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Saturday 19 January 2019

Boxing: Ward aims to knock Egan from pedestal

It's decision-time! Eleven sporting constituencies (49kg up to 91+kg) will be decided tonight in the Mens' Elite finals at the National Stadium.

Olympic silver medalist Ken Egan (Neilstown & Miami) is aiming for an astonishing 11th national title. In his way is Ireland's youngest and hottest prospect for the future, World Youth Champion Joe Ward (Moate and Repton ABC, London).

There's a lot at stake for Egan. "Ten out of my weight will qualify for the Olympics at the World Championships," he says.

"This is special because it gives me a great chance to qualify."

"I'm only 17 but I'm mature," says Joe Ward. "I've boxed all over the world. I have power and ability and I'm working well. I don't worry about anyone else. I just go in to win. My speed will pay off.

"A new lad has to take over sometime. Kenny Egan is our number one guy for the last 10 years so I'll have a good fight with him and we'll see what happens. I've sparred him. He's a good lad. It'll be a very exciting fight. I believe there'll be nothing in it."

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With Ireland due to start their Cricket World Cup campaign today with a match against home side Bangladesh, there was a disturbing Tweet earlier in the week from Paul Stirling (with a knock of 177 against Canada last year, Ireland's highest-scoring batsman in an ODI). "Swiftly running out of Imodium!" he joked. Or lamented?

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Manager Brian Peters believes Matthew Macklin's fight with Ronald "Winky" Wright in Las Vegas on April 9 could lead to a world title shot for the boxer who's also played hurling for Tipperary.

European middleweight champion Macklin reveals that he'd agreed to fight Wright last summer. "For whatever reason he never agreed terms," he claims.

The bout now goes ahead as a co-feature on a show billed as Action Heroes with Erik Morales and Marcos Maidana.

"This is one of the most lucrative deals for an Irish fighter in the last 25 years," insists Brian Peters.

"It will be the biggest fight involving an Irishman in Las Vegas since the infamous night Barry McGuigan lost his world title in 1986. Matthew's fight will be indoors at the MGM Grand so he won't have to worry about the heat."

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When The Rubberbandits joked on radio yesterday that they'd like to see a box-off between Mannix Flynn and Dylan Haskins they possibly didn't know that Mannix regularly attends boxing tournaments at the National Stadium and is a great supporter of local amateur clubs.

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