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Massive blow for Irish boxing with Billy Walsh poised to take up US coaching post

The man who helps Ireland punch above their weight set to leave less than a year before the Olympic Games.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

IRELAND’S HIGH PERFORMANCE boxing coach Billy Walsh is on the verge of taking up a position with USA Boxing after the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) rejected a proposed deal to keep him on these shores.

Walsh, who himself represented Ireland in the Seoul Olympics, has been head-hunted by USA Boxing and now looks poised to make the move to Colorado to aid the American women’s Olympic charge, as Vincent Hogan of the Irish Independent reported today.

The42 understands that the Irish Sports Council made it unambiguously clear that they would make every effort to meet requests made by Walsh, financially and otherwise, in order to keep the Wexford man in Ireland.

Instead, while Walsh remains an IABA employee and has yet to formally accept Team USA’s offer, the man who masterminded seven Olympic medals will soon be lost to Irish boxing.

“We wanted him to stay,” a Sports Council source told The42.

We love Billy. He’s a great coach, a great leader, and there’s other bits of genius built in around that.

“The reason the Americans have come in is because they recognise how good he is.”

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To lose Walsh would be a devastating blow for Ireland, who must now take on the prospect of replacing “one of the best coaches in the world” with less than a year to go before the 2016 Olympic Games.

Given that the deal agreed for Walsh was turned down by the IABA, it is difficult to see a coach or high performance director of a similar standard being attracted to the role and it is expected Walsh’s successor will be found within the existing system.

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