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A night of World class boxing and the return of Katie Taylor to competitive action for the first time since she won gold at the London Olympics ended on a poignant note after Ken Egan announced his retirement from inside the ring he has graced for over a decade last night.

The 31-year-old Dubliner said that he was hanging up his gloves following his third successive defeat to Joe Ward in an Elite Championships light-heavyweight final at Dublin’s National Stadium.

Egan’s surprise announcement arrived almost twelve years to the day since he beat Conall Carmichael 11-6 to claim his first Elite title at middleweight on February 23, 2001.

The Beijing 2008 silver medallist, one of the most decorated Irish and international boxers of his generation, was well beaten by 19-year-old Ward, the current European champion running out a 25-5 victor to secure his third consecutive belt before his 20th birthday.

Ward, gracious in victory, was the first to lead the tributes to his fellow southpaw and Ireland team-mate

He said: “Ken Egan is a wonderful boxer,has been a wonderful ambassador for Ireland. I wish him all the best in his retirement and hope he goes on to achieve all he now wants to achieve. It’s sad this day had to come but it’s like any other legend, it has to end sometime.”

His legacy as one of Ireland’s greatest exponents of the nobel art intact, Egan, who received a sustained standing ovation from a packed National Stadium after his announcement, said that he believed that the final bell on his 13th straight Elite final was a fitting occasion to retire.

He said: ” This day was always going to come but I thought tonight would be fitting for it. I don’t think I could go any further with the talent that’s in the wings.

“Joe is an exceptional talent and improving all the time. I thought I’d test him this year but he’s getting that bit better all the time and it’s brilliant to see.”

Meanwhile, London 2012 Olympians Michael Conlan, Adam Nolan and Katie Taylor all claimed victories last night.

Nolan, a team-mate of Taylor’s at the Bray BC, also scooped the Boxer of the Tournament Award.

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