FOUR MORE YEARS.
At the tender age of 18 patience is rarely a virtue and Joe Ward must currently feel like his lifelong dream has been pulled away, just when it was within reach.
After losing to home-town favourite, Bahran Muzaffer, Rio 2016 is the next chance at Olympic glory, but he has many offers coming in to offer him the obvious alternative. A career as a professional.
As an elite, Irish champion, boxer the Moate man is in the highest grant bracket. So he will be able to make ends if needs be. The alternative is turning pro, the murky world of promoters where fights are organised and title-shots given out, not on merit, but through prolonged negotiations.
The goings on in the dark, smoke-filled rooms of a fight promoter would make the judges in Trabzon seem a paradigm of virtue by comparison.
Ward currently fights in the 81kg limit. A move to the professional ranks would see him either drop a couple of kilos to fight as light heavyweight or super middleweight.
There, the most recognisable belt holders are currently Nathan Cleverly, Bernard Hopkins (light heavyweight) and Andre Ward (super middleweight). Alternatively, he could beef up slightly to become a cruiserweight – where Marco Huck and Guillermo Jones are the longest reigning of the four belt-holders.
Is that the arena for Ward? Or should he hold off, stick with the IABA and go for gold in Rio?