The end for Egan

  • Last Updated: February 23 2013, 13:39 GMT

On a night when Katie Taylor began a comeback she hopes will end in a second consecutive Olympic gold medal in 2016, another Irish boxing hero called time on his illustrious career.

Ken Egan: Called it a day

Ken Egan, who won silver in the light-heavyweight division in Beijing and has 10 national titles to his name, conceded his career was over after his loss to Joe Ward at the National Stadium in Dublin.

The ovation afforded Egan, who announced his retirement in the ring, equalled the acclaim which greeted Taylor, whose first bout since her historic Olympic triumph saw a 28-5 win over Karolina Graczyk of Poland.

Popular 31-year-old Egan was bidding to become Ireland's first 11-time national champion, but was undone by the irresistible force of Ward, the reigning European champion who is 13 years Egan's junior.

Egan admitted: "This day was always going to be come but I thought it was a fitting occasion to announce it. I don't think I can go any further with the talent we have got in the wings.

"I am glad to hand the baton over to a fighter like Joe Ward. He is an exceptional talent and improving all the time. I thought I'd test him this year but he's getting better and it's brilliant to see."

Egan's silver medal in Beijing made him a star but the perils of fame led him to fight off a series of addiction problems as well as the rise of Ward, which denied him a chance of going to the London 2012 Games.

But if it was a fitting occasion for Egan's swansong in the ring it was also a night which proved the future of Irish boxing is in good hands, with 13 finals contested as well as Taylor's additional bout.

Keen not to deflect attention from the men, the softly-spoken Taylor thanked the fans as she prepares for a busy comeback weekend, with a second bout booked for the Bord Gais Energy Theatre this Sunday.

Taylor said: "The fans have been incredible for me over these last few years so it's great to fight in front of them. Graczyk was a quality opponent and it was good to get back in the ring."

Taylor's competitive schedule is likely to take her to the European Union Championships in Hungary in June, with a number of other build-up bouts also scheduled for next month.

Belfast's Olympic bronze medallist Michael Conlan was another fine winner with a 20-9 flyweight victory over Chris Phelan to place himself firmly in pole position for the European and World Championships later this year.

And it was a night of great success for Northern Ireland in particular, with one eye on next year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, with wins for Sean McComb and big-hitting heavyweight Tommy McCarthy.

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