Wednesday 20 November 2019

Walsh praise for Elite squad ahead of World Championships


Bernard O'Neill

Head coach Billy Walsh has hailed the attitude of the Irish Elite squad ahead of the AIBA Men's World Championships and Olympic qualifiers in Azerbaijan.

A record-breaking 685 boxers from 127 countries have set a new standard for entries for the tournament, which begins in Baku on Monday.

Ireland, along with 21 other nations including powerhouses Cuba and Russia, will be using a full complement of 10 boxers.

The general weigh-in and draw will be held on Sunday in Baku, followed by the weigh-in and preliminary-round bouts the following morning.

The Irish squad arrived in Azerbaijan last night after finishing up their training camp in Cologne with a test match (no scores were kept) against Canada.

The squad were training and sparring with Germany, Canada, Denmark, Moldova and Norway in Germany and, according to former Irish Olympian Walsh, they are eager to start trading leather.

"The squad are where they need to be before the World Championships in Baku and we got what we wanted out of an excellent training camp in Cologne," said the Irish head coach.

"We're in tapering-off mode now ahead of Sunday's general weigh-in and the draw. Fingers crossed we get the rub of the green in the draw.

"The squad have shown an excellent attitude at the training camp and are eager to get things under way. That's what we are here for, that's what it is all about."

World amateur boxing chiefs AIBA are due to announce their guidelines for seeding for the championships and the Olympic Games shortly.

Meanwhile, European Junior bronze medalist Luke Thomas has been included in the Irish squad to face Scotland at the Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork on Saturday night.

Irish Independent

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