Saturday 25 February 2017

The one man boxing could not afford to lose was Billy

While Walsh's resignation may have come as a shock to many, tensions had been simmering for a long time

Eamonn Sweeney

Put in a corner: Billy Walsh has stepped down from his role as head coach of Ireland's High Performance Unit. Irish boxers have won 67 medals at major championships under his watch, including Olympic champion Katie Taylor
Put in a corner: Billy Walsh has stepped down from his role as head coach of Ireland's High Performance Unit. Irish boxers have won 67 medals at major championships under his watch, including Olympic champion Katie Taylor
Katie Taylor

The Irish Amateur Boxing Association should have been basking in reflected glory after the London Olympics. After all, its boxers had just secured one gold, one silver and two bronze medals, 80pc of the Irish total.

Instead it found itself the target of fierce criticism in the official report on the Irish performance at the games carried out by the London consultancy firm Knight, Kavanagh and Page.

The report, which came out in March 2013, stated that: "There are clearly issues and frustrations in the wider structure of Irish boxing. There are still situations where IABA committees have the constitutional authority and see fit to overturn Performance Director selections, to ask specific athletes to enter 'box-offs' against the advice of High Performance Programme staff and have imposed specific members of staff on the HPP without Performance Director assent."

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