Friday 20 April 2018

John Joe Nevin was due to sign pro contract ahead of Tyson Fury fight -Billy Walsh

John Joe Nevin had been originally selected on the Irish boxing team
John Joe Nevin had been originally selected on the Irish boxing team

Irish boxing coach Billy Walsh has revealed that Mullingar's Olympic silver medallist John Joe Nevin was due to sign a professional contract at the Tyson Fury- David Haye fight but the bout was postponed.

Speaking ahead of the Irish team's departure to Almaty, Kazakhstan to compete in the World Boxing Championships next month, Walsh said that he had done everything in his power to keep Nevin in the amateur ranks.

Walsh revealed that Nevin was supposed to fly to England last week to sign a professional contract ahead of the Heavyweight bout but the fight was postponed after Haye suffered a facial injury.

 “This has been ongoing,” said Walsh.

“The guy has achieved almost everything he wanted to achieve in amateur boxing, an amazing man, an amazing talent and probably one of the best I have seen don an Irish jersey.

“ I thought when he came to France with us at the end of August - we’d two contests out there - I thought he was going to continue.

"But in the meantime when we were heading to Castlebar (for a recent training camp), I heard he was going over to the Tyson Fury fight and sign up (professionally) there. That was the plan.

“He wasn’t at squad training in that camp (Mayo). For me the decision was already made. It was John Joe’s decision to go professional .”

“I couldn’t speak highly enough about him. Any advice, any help …we will be there with open arms if he decides to change his mind, which he has on a few occasions."

The IABA have decided not bring a bantamweight fighter to the championships after Nevin pulled out.

The Ireland squad is headed by two London 2012 bronze medallists, light-flyweight Paddy Barnes and flyweight Michael Conlan - who is expected to follow Nevin into the professional ranks after the tournament.

“The squad have had a number of very good training camps, including one in Kazakhstan, this year. We’ll finish off our preparations in Kazakhstan when we arrive there next week," Walsh added.

“The World Championships is always the toughest tournament, tougher than the Olympic Games. If the team perform to their full potential they’re very capable of doing well.

“They proved themselves at the European Championships in Belarus this summer. They took home two gold and two silver. If we’d had more luck with injuries we would probably have taken home more medals.

“It’s all about performance. Our squad are well capable of competing against the top nations as they have consistently proven.

“Kazakhstan are one of the top nations in world boxing. They won seven gold medals at the Asian Games this year and we’re looking forward to working with them.”

Ireland squad: Light-flyweight: Paddy Barnes; Flyweight: Michael Conlan; Lightweight: Sean McComb; Light-welterweight: Ray Moylette; Welterweight: Adam Nolan; Middleweight: Jason Quigley; Light-heavyweight: Joe Ward; Heavyweight: Tommy McCarthy; Super-heavyweight: Con Sheehan.

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