Thursday 26 April 2018

Walsh keen to get Irish future secured

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

IRISH coach Billy Walsh hopes to have his future with the Irish Amateur Boxing Association's (IABA) High Performance unit secured within "the coming days or weeks."

As it stands, Walsh and his coaching team – which includes Zuar Antia and Pete Taylor – are only signed up until 2014, but they are hopeful of being in place for the Rio Olympics in 2016.

And with John Joe Nevin rowing back on his decision to join the professional ranks, it means the team that brought four medals back from London should be in place in four years' time.

Walsh admitted that he still had other options but expressed a preference to remain with the High Performance unit despite the protracted talks.

"It is a bit of a nuisance because the boys all stayed because we were staying but hopefully it will be resolved. Everyone is positive and wants it to happen," he said.

"The (other offers) are still there. There are things still out there if I need to get them. It is just a matter of taking them up. I would prefer not to."

Walsh also revealed that he didn't think Nevin's style was ideal for turning pro.

"The pro game doesn't really suit him. Yes, he would probably have had success early. If they invested money into him they would get him a few bums and a record of 15 or 20 (wins), but they are going to throw him in with somebody over 10 rounds at some stage and John Joe is a mover.

"He can't keep doing that for 10 rounds. He is elusive but his chin is up and the pro game may not be for him. The Irish Sports Council have guaranteed him four years' funding. That's great, in the current climate."

Nevin (23) himself insists he is completely focused on Rio after a brief flirtation with Amir Khan's pro stable.

"An Olympic medal was always my dream," Nevin said. "But when I get out of the ring I got another feeling that I missed out on the gold and joining the Katie Taylor and Michael Carruth club.

"Hopefully in four years' time I can do that. I know it's a risk but at least I'll have tried – and there is plenty of time to go pro after."

Irish Independent

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