Team Ireland arrived in Germany last night for a training camp ahead of next month’s Chemistry Cup in Cologne.
The 13-strong squad will train at the German Olympic and Paralympic Centre in Kienbaum from March 27 to April 8 before the start of the Cup on April 9.
So far, the host nation, Ireland, Russia and a number of other countries have booked into the training camp.
Caribbean powerhouses Cuba are expected to participate in the tournament.
Three-time European Elite champion Ward will be aiming for a third Chemistry Cup gold in Cologne as he beat Russia’s Olympic light heavy champion Egor Mekhonstev in the 2012 final and Kazakhstan’s Adilbek Niyazimbetov in the 2014 decider.
His fellow Rio 2016 Olympian David Oliver Joyce also won gold at this level in 2014. Cork’s Michael Roche (Sunnyside BC) qualified for Sydney 2000 at the 2000 Chemistry Cup which was acting as a European Olympic qualifier at the turn of the century.
Roche had to settle for silver in the final 19 years ago after a back injury forced him to retire at the end of the first round.
The Leeside light middle was Ireland’s only boxer at the Sydney Games.
(Image: Team Ireland at Dublin Airport yesterday)
Chemistry Cup Cologne, Germany April 9/14
51kg Carly McNaul (Holy Family)
57kg Michaela Walsh (Monkstown)
69kg Christina Desmond (Fr Horgan’s)
69kg Grainne Walsh (Spartacus)
52kg Brendan Irvine (St Paul’s)
57kg Kurt Walker (Canal)
63kg James McGivern (St Georges)
63kg Wayne Kelly (Portlaoise)
69kg Kieran Molloy (Oughterard)
75kg Emmet Brennan (Glasnevin)
81kg Joe Ward (Spartacus)
91kg Tony Browne (St Michael’s)
91kg+ Dean Gardiner (Clonmel)
Team Manager: Bernard Dunne
Coaches: Zuar Antia, John Conlan, Damian Kennedy
Physiotherapist: Muireann Harte
Physiologist: Damian Martin