Joe Ward through to third Euro final after leaving opponent in tears mid-fight

Joe Ward through to third Euro final after leaving opponent in tears mid-fight

Joe Ward is through to his third European Boxing Championships final in seven years, where he will bid for a third gold medal, writes Stephen Barry.

The top seed in the light-heavyweight division left Valentino Manfredonia in tears at the end of the first round, with the Italian hampered by a leg injury.

Like his quarter-final cruise, it ended with an inevitable 5-0 unanimous decision for Ward.

The Moate southpaw landed some power shots in the first, with Manfredonia taking heavy blows in the final seconds. After returning to his stool, the Italian burst into tears.

He did emerge for the second round but Ward’s big left hands continued to rain in. Manfredonia limped away to his corner at the bell, where he had ice applied to his right knee.

The third followed the trend, with one judge giving Ward, who is still only 23 years old, a 30-25 verdict, while the other four scored it 30-27.

Earlier, Antrim duo Kurt Walker and Brendan Irvine lost their semi-finals.

Flyweight Irvine missed out on a place in the final after losing to England's Niall Farrell, who got the decision from all five judges.

Walker will also bring back bronze after losing out unanimously to 2013 bantamweight finalist Mykola Butsenko.

Butsenko had lost out to Ireland's John Joe Nevin four years ago.

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