CAS look favourably on Ward’s appeal, but is it too late?

It was generally accepted that boxing took a step backwards in Trabzon when teenage sensation, Joe Ward, was dumped out of the Olympic qualifying tournament on the back of what was a dreadful decision that robbed the 2012 Olympic Games of one of the best boxers in the world.

“As far as I’ve seen over the years — and I have attended many of those championships, Olympics, qualifiers and all sorts of tournaments — and I’m not just saying it because it’s Joe Ward, but it was a very bad decision,” IABA President, Tommy Murphy, insisted at the time.

“If it had been anybody else I’d say the same. It was a terrible decision.”

That was after Ward lost 18-15 to Bahram Muzaffer from Turkey after the five judges from the Philippines, China, Italy, Algeria and Croatia delivered the hometown decision to beat all hometown decisions. Joe Ward knew he won the fight and so too did anyone who knows anything about boxing and if proof was needed it was provided by Performance Analyst, Alan Swanton, who produced the evidence that Ward had outscored the Turk almost two to one and almost three to one (11-4) in the last round.

The Irish delegation appealed the decision, but their appeal was turned down, but last night, Joe Ward’s coach, Eddie Bolger, confirmed Joe was appealing the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which had accepted the appeal and said they had a case.

“I undertook this myself,” he said. “I believe coaching moves outside the boxing. Joe’s a friend of mind, he didn’t get justice and he didn’t get fair play.”

Meanwhile, Billy Walsh was turning to tomorrow’s draw for a bit of luck as his team settled into the Athletes Village in London happy they had done everything possible to put themselves in the best possible position before the Olympic tournament which gets underway on Saturday with John Joe Nevin and Darren O’Neill facing possible first-round contests.

John Joe Nevin is in line for seeding, thanks to his fourth place ranking on world lists, and there is also a possibility Darren O’Neill might get a seeding, which would mean they will not box until early next week.

In the meantime, things could not be better, said Walsh.

“Training camp in Assisi was good, did what we needed to do, got a lot of good quality work in and we came out of it healthy,” he said. “We are ready to go. We are just a bit anxious obviously about the draw and about getting into it. The first fight is always key to it.

“This is the end of many years of preparation and, in particular, the last four. Paddy Barnes said to me ‘Billy where’s the last four years’?, and he is a young lad so you can imagine how quick it went for me. This is the culmination of all that work and we are really looking forward to it.

“The draw is very key to it. There is a lot of speculation out there that we should be winning medals all over the place, but that’s not the case at all — it never happens in boxing or in any sport for that matter. We have a very talented group, but you cannot forget that a lot of people under-perform at the Olympic Games because of the occasion, because it’s only once every four years.”

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