Is there still a chance for Joe Ward to make it to the Olympics?
According to Irish boxing coach Billy Walsh, there’s still a slim chance that European champion Joe Ward could make it to the London Olympics as a wildcard.
Irish sporting fans were shocked and disappointed when Westmeath’s Joe Ward lost to Turkey’s Bahran Muzzafer yesterday, ending his hopes of a place at the London Olympics.
But in an interview with Newstalk’s Oisin Langan, Walsh reveals that there is still a tiny glimmer of hope for the Irish light heavyweight.
“We’re looking at various avenues,” said Walsh. “We’re looking at launching an appeal and there is also a thing called a tripartite chance and there is one space left for Europe at 81kg (Ward’s weight) that can be given out as a wildcard, as such. He is the highest ranked boxer that has not qualified so we are going to make a move in that direction.”
Ward controversially lost to Muzzafer 18-15 despite what many observers believe was a winning performance from the 18-year-old. An appeal immediately after the bout failed but this ‘wildcard’ option leaves open some hope that Ward may yet make it to London.
When pressed on the likelihood on Ward getting the nod from the powers that be to attend, Walsh said he didn’t know.
“At the moment Joe Ward isn’t going to the Olympics but we are trying every avenue to turn that around,” said Walsh, adding ominously “but I wouldn’t hold my breath.”
The issue of Ward’s future’s also cropped up but Walsh was confident Ward would stay amateur.
“His dream is the Olympics, he is still a very young man and he will only be 22 at the next Games in Rio in 2016, so he has a bright future in amateur boxing,” said Walsh.