Sunday 19 January 2020

Boxing: Carruth wades into row

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Two legends of Irish boxing last night strongly criticised the Irish Sports Council for their ongoing row with the Irish Amateur Boxing Association.

The Council have withdrawn funding for the posts of Director and Chief Executive Officer of the successful High Performance Unit after Billy Walsh was passed over for the role as Director last month, with IABA president Dominic O'Rourke succeeding Gary Keegan.

The decision has divided opinion within boxing, but Olympic gold medallist Michael Carruth and former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan believe that success in the ring has earned the IABA the right to make it's own decisions.

And speaking at the launch of 'The Fighting Irishmen' exhibition at Croke Park, Carruth, a development officer with the IABA, said he could not fathom the Council's stance.

"The Sports Council are saying that they are going to stop funding and I can't understand that," the Greenhills native said.

"We are the most successful sport. They should listen to us. I'm a firm believer that we shouldn't be dictated to by the Sports Council. Whether Billy of Dominic got the job, we shouldn't be dictated to.

"We've been winning a lot of medals before and after they (the Sports Council) funded us and we'll continue to do it."

McGuigan echoed Carruth's comments and said he believed Walsh should continue his work as High Performance Coach.

"We have been provided with the funding and we have done the job," he said. "Don't interfere with that, let them get on with it.

"If you make a democratic position and someone doesn't like it -- then forget about that. Billy has done a terrific job and I think he should continue with it as long as his position isn't threatened.

"I don't want to get into pointing fingers and I'm not, but the Sports Council should just provide the funding and allow the IABA to make the decisions."

Irish Independent

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