Published: Friday, 22nd February, 2013 4:00pm
Joe Ward ... the Moate boxer is preparing to take on Olympic silver medalist Kenny Egan in a national final for the third year in a row. Photo: Ann Hennessy.
Moate boxer Joe Ward will aim to retain his national title when he takes on former Olympic silver medalist Kenny Egan for the third time tonight (Friday).
The 19-year-old outpointed Egan on both of the previous occasions the pair met in national finals in the 81kg (light heavyweight) division.
Tonight's meeting is the most high-profile bout of the ten finals taking place in Dublin's National Stadium.
Ward was in a confident mood when he spoke about the contest earlier this week.
"I'm not sure what to expect from Kenneth and won't know until we're in the thick of the action but, to be honest, if he couldn't beat me when I was a baby, when I was 17 and 18 years-old, I can't see him beating me this time," he said.
"You can't underestimate Egan but people forget I beat him 29-10 in last year's final. That's a cricket score and it's very hard claw back such a deficit.
"I'm feeling very good. (Taking part in) the World Series of Boxing did me the power of good and all my conditioning and fitness work has been good. I'm ready for Friday and determined to get a third straight national title under my belt," added Ward, who received a bye all the way to the final.
Egan defeated Crumlin's Davey Joe Joyce in last weekend's semi-final, on a 13-7 scoreline, and is entering an unprecedented 13th senior national final.
Coverage of the national amateur boxing finals will be televised on RTE Two at 9.45pm tonight.