Joe Ward had to settle for a bronze medal at the World Boxing Championships in Kazakhstan as the 19-year-old Moate BC southpaw was well beaten on a unanimous decision of 30-27 by Cuban Julio De La Cruz-Peraza in the light-heavyweight semi-final.

Ward was unfortunate perhaps to come up against such an impressive fighter at the semi-final stage but he had no answer to the reigning World Champions' speed and guile.

Peraza was the heavy favourite before the bout and showed exactly why from the start as he caught the Irish youngster with a quick left hook inside the first few seconds of the opening round.

Ward tried to respond with a left haymaker of his own but the wily Cuban dodged it with ease as his quickness of foot became apparent.

Peraza was happy to pick his punches and duck back out leaving Ward struggling to connect and although the Irish fighter caught him off balance towards the end of the round, all three judges scored the round 10-9 in favour of the world champion.

The second and third rounds were a similar story, and all three judges scored them 10-9, as the classy Cuban danced around the less mobile Ward, dictating the pace and frustrating the Irishman who began to swing wildly in the hope of landing a knock-out blow.

The Cuban ended the bout in a showboating manner, taunting his opponent, which was unfair on Ward but the Moate fighter can have no complaints about the result and was in no way disgraced against a fighter who looks to be on course for gold.

Afterwards Ward admitted that the better fighter won, but was still pleased with his lot.

He said: "I just couldn't get to him. He was very tricky. He's just an exceptional boxer, with perfect movement and discipline. It wasn't that he was landing that many punches, but overall his tactics were perfect.

"I just couldn't find the range in any of the rounds.

"Overall I can't complain. I had a great tournament and I came out with a bronze medal."  

Jason Quigley's final will be shown live on RTÉ.ie/sport & RTÉ One tomorrow morning.