Friday 23 March 2018

Ring of ire as IABA fail to deliver statement on Billy Walsh


USA Boxing continues to remain tight-lipped about contract negotiations with Billy Walsh
USA Boxing continues to remain tight-lipped about contract negotiations with Billy Walsh

Sean McGoldrick

USA Boxing remained tight-lipped last night about contract talks with Billy Walsh, the former head coach with the IABA High Performance Unit.

Walsh left Ireland yesterday morning with his wife Christine en route to Memphis, where he will attend the US women's Olympic boxing trials which begin on Sunday.

It is expected that Walsh will become the new head coach of the US women's boxing squad which features two medallists from the London Olympics.

USA Boxing spokesperson Julie Goldsticker said they had no comment to make on the coaching situation at this time and didn't expect the organisation to be making any announcements this weekend.

Meanwhile, as Walsh contemplated his new life in the US, the fallout from his departure continued at home.

Having ignored a 24-hour ultimatum from Sports Ireland chairman Kieran Mulvey to offer Walsh the contract which the parties had shaken hands on in August, the IABA's board of directors yesterday broke a promise they apparently made to Minister of State Michael Ring in talks on Wednesday.


According to the minister, the IABA promised that they would make a statement yesterday explaining why Walsh, despite repeatedly saying he wanted to stay as head coach of the High Performance Unit, felt obliged to tender his resignation on Monday and take up the offer in the US.

"I met the IABA (on Wednesday). I brought them in to see what went wrong and one thing I asked them to do - and I hope they make that statement before this day is out - and they assured me that they will be making a statement," said Ring yesterday.

Elsewhere, Steven Donnelly could win a place at the Rio Olympics if Andrey Zamkovoy outperforms Radzhab Butaev in the Russian Elite Championships next month.

The qualification process for Rio 2016 is extremely convoluted, involving routes through the World Series of Boxing (WSB), AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) and regular amateur boxing.

Ballymena welterweight Donnelly finished fourth in the WSB. The top two qualify for Rio in this weight. Morocco's Mohammad Rabii claimed No 1 position but also qualified at the World Championships this month.

In regards to Olympic qualification, that bumps Donnelly up to third, with Butaev and Azeri Parviz Baghirov qualifying in first and second place.

However, Zamkovoy also qualified for Russia in APB and Russia will use their National Championships to separate the pair. If Zamkovoy out performs Butaev, that will move Donnelly into the top two and qualify him for Rio.

So far, Paddy Barnes, Michael Conlan and Joe Ward have qualified for Ireland.

Irish Independent

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