Tuesday 16 January 2018

'IABA should be shamed' - Olympian John Joe Nevin leads fury after Billy Walsh resignation

Billy Walsh and John Joe Nevin at the 2012 Olympic Games in London
Billy Walsh and John Joe Nevin at the 2012 Olympic Games in London
Vincent Hogan

Vincent Hogan

London Olympic silver medallist John Joe Nevin led a chorus of outrage last night over the loss of Billy Walsh to Irish boxing.

The Wexford man's decision to take up a post in America means that Ireland parts company with its most successful Olympic coach after eight months of trying to negotiate a new deal with the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA).

"IABABOXING should be shamed," tweeted Nevin after Walsh's patience finally snapped over the Association's reluctance to tie him down to a long-term deal.

US boxing officials have been courting Walsh for eight months now, yet the IABA consistently refused to sign off on a new package that would have been Government-funded in full.

Multiple world champion Katie Taylor lamented the loss of "an extraordinary man" to Irish boxing, while double Olympic bronze medallist Paddy Barnes expressed concern that Walsh's departure could now trigger the loss too of his right-hand man, Zaur Antia.

Walsh will earn significantly more money in the US, yet it is accepted that the stumbling blocks to a new deal with the IABA were "non-financial".

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Sport Ireland yesterday issued a statement damning of the Association's failure to reach an agreement, pointing out that they believed a resolution had been reached on August 22, but that it was "not clear why this proposal was never presented to the Board of the IABA as agreed".

The IABA, meanwhile, said they had accepted Walsh's resignation "with regret".

Sport Ireland said they will now "review" the outcome of recent negotiations.

Walsh, meanwhile, described it as "like a death in the family" walking away from a Programme he has been so central to since its inception under the direction of Gary Keegan in 2002.

"There's simple things like dignity and respect with your role," he said. "And they've been dismantled."

Irish Independent

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