Ward and Moylette going for gold

JOE WARD and Ray Moylette are in with a chance of claiming gold medals in today’s finals at the European Senior Championships following semi-final wins yesterday.

Moylette, the 2008 AIBA World Youth champ, beat Azerbaijaniopponent Hajiliyev Heybatulla in the light-welterweight class to set up afinal showdown with England’s Thomas Stalker.

And 17-year-old Ward, the 2010 AIBA World Youth champ, followed that up with a comprehensive 18-8 win over Hungarian puncher Imre Szello, who is 11 years his senior.

Ward, who boxes out of the Moate BC in Westmeath, will now meet Russian Nikita Ivanov in today’s 81Kg final. Ivanov, a two-time Bosckai Memorial Cup gold medal winner, beat Croatia’s Hrvoje Sep in the other semi-final.

Ward and Ivanov sparred at Ireland’s training camp in Russia this year and Irish Team Manager Des Donnellyreports Ward was well able for the Russian.

Ward was 11-4 up going into the third round of yesterday’s semi-final and even found time to beckon Szello forward, a gesture that earned him a ticking off from the ref.

“Joe was in against a vastly experienced opponent and he made him look ordinary, said Irish head coach Billy Walsh. “It was a fantastic performance from someone of such tender years.”

Moylette recorded a deserved victory over Heybatulla, the St Anne’s BC Westport light-welterweight, winning 18-16.

A close duel saw both boxers share the first round 4-4 and the second 9-9, before Moylette, who was landing most of the cleaner shots throughout, claimed the final round and victory.

Coach Walsh said: “The final score didn’t reflect Ray’s performance. It was a fantastic display, particularly in the third round when he pulled out all the stops to a very well deserved win.”

Moylette, who broke his left hand after falling on ice last Christmas, sparred with final opponent Stalker in a training camp in Sheffield earlier this month and vowed there’ll be no slip up this time.

“We sparred in two sessions at the training camp in Sheffield recently and he won some and I won some. I learned a lot from those sessions to tell you the truth”, he said.

“I’ll be going in to enjoy myself again in the final and I’ll be giving it everything. Thomas Stalker is a good boxer, make no mistake about that. It will be a tough, tough one but I’m confident. ”

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