WORLD bronze medallist John Joe Nevin has threatened to quit amateur boxing if he is not chosen on the Irish team for next month’s World Championships in Azerbaijan.
The controversial selection process, which will decide the 11 boxers who will travel to Baku, threatens to cause a major rift in Irish boxing and the successful High Performance Unit.
Box-offs took place last weekend at the National Stadium to determine who would compete for Ireland in the upcoming World Championships, but a number of high profile names could not compete because of injury, including Nevin.
The 22-year-old will travel with a panel of 15 to Italy tomorrow for a trainng camp but four boxers will miss out on the chance to compete for a place in the London Olympics, prompting Nevin to issue an ultimatum to the IABA. “I haven’t been beaten by an Irish boxer in over seven years, and if they want to judge me over an injury, well that’s it,” he said. “It’s as simple as this, if I’m not going to the World Championships, then I’m never boxing for Ireland again, I’ll go professional and I’ll be gone well before the end of the year. “I just don’t see how they can leave me out, and if they do, that’s my amateur career over.”
The squad includes all the winners from last week’s box-off as well as the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist and last year’s European and Commonwealth champion, Paddy Barnes, this year’s two European champions, Joe Ward and Ray Moylette, middleweight Darren O’Neill, who was a European silver medallist last year, and world bronze medallist Nevin.
It means that there will be two boxers in some of the weights — with box-off winner and defeated national finalist Tyrone McCullagh joining Nevin at bantamweight. National champion and box-off winner Ross Hickey, who missed out on the European Championships because he was on duty for the Defence Forces, joins Ray Moylette at light welterweight, and box-off winner and European youth champion Jason Quigley joins three-time national champion Darren O’Neill at middleweight. However, only one boxer can compete at each weight level.