Ireland's hopes of a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have suffered a setback with the news Westmeath boxer Joe Ward is to turn professional.
Light heavyweight Ward has signed a deal with management company Times Square Boxing in the USA. He will be managed by Joe Winters.
25-year-old Ward missed out on a medal at the Rio Olympics.
Ward was the Irish amateur captain and twice a World silver medalist. He is a three-time European amateur champion, and a former World Junior and World Youth champion.
It's interesting that he's made his choice this week, after Katie Taylor, who also lost in Rio, became the undisputed world lightweight belt holder.
Taylor was an imperious amateur, winning gold at the London Olympics, but it's also fair to say she hasn't looked back since joining the paid ranks.
Ward's decision means Kellie Harrington is now the clear hope to win a boxing medal for Ireland in Japan.
Boxing has been Ireland's most successful sport at the Olympics, with our fighters winning 16 medals. Michael Carruth won gold in 1992 and Taylor in 2012. In addition, John McNally, Fred Tiedt, John Caldwell, Freddie Gilroy, Anthony Byrne, Jim McCourt, Hugh Russell, Wayne McCullough, Kenneth Egan, Paddy Barnes, Darren Sutherland, John Joe Nevin and Michael Conlan have graced the podium.