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'The IABA have not made it possible for me to continue' - Billy Walsh resigns from IABA

Walsh will take up a role in the USA.

Image: Kostadin Andonov/INPHO

BILLY WALSH HAS resigned as head coach of the IABA’s High Performance Unit less than a week after guiding his team to three medals at the World Championships.

Walsh’s future has been the centre of attention since last month, when the news broke that the IABA had not ratified a deal to keep him in Ireland.

Walsh will now move to Colorado, where he is to work with the USA’s women’s boxing team ahead of the Olympics in 2016.

In a statement released this morning Walsh confirmed his departure with immediate effect, citing the IABA’s reluctance to ratify his long-term deal.

“Since February of this year I have been engaged in a process with the IABA to secure my future as Head Coach with the High Performance Unit and senior team. A protracted process that went on for eight months included numerous high level meetings that resulted in various proposals.

“In August a fair proposal was developed under the auspices of the Irish Sports Council (ISC) that was acceptable and fair but then not subsequently ratified by IABA.

“I was hopeful in recent weeks that a final proposal arising out of an approach in late September by the IABA would lead to a successful conclusion but unfortunately it didn’t.

“Regrettably the IABA have not made it possible for me to continue on in the role as Head Coach of the High Performance Unit and senior team.”

Just days after Michael Conlan, Michael O’Reilly and Joe Ward all secured World Championship medals in Doha, Walsh has confirmed his move to the USA, having tendered his resignation to the IABA’s Chief Executive Fergal Carruth.

“While leaving the Irish Team has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, my sights are now firmly set on my future role with USA Boxing.  It is a huge honor for me as a coach to receive the opportunity work with such an iconic sporting nation that is the USA.

“I am greatly looking forward to the opportunities ahead in bringing my expertise and experience to the USA Women’s Team as they prepare for success in Rio and beyond.”

The Wexford native has also masterminded seven Olympic medals, and it remains fitting that if he had to depart the Irish set-up, he did so after helping deliver Ireland’s first ever World Championship gold, which was won by Michael Conlan.

“In starting out on this journey back in 2003 our ambition was centered on building a sustainable system for Irish Boxing and I think we have achieved that. This has been achieved with the work of many excellent people including our outstanding club coaches who produce the pipeline of talent for us in high performance to work with.

“Our high performance coaching team contains some of the finest and hardworking coaches in the world, both those from international shores and homegrown. These coaches are part of the legacy of all the hard work it took to build this system.

“Zaur Antia, Jim Moore, Eddie Bolger, Pete Taylor, John Conlan, Billy McClean and Dmytri are well positioned to take my work and the work of the high performance programme forward and lead this senior team into Rio to compete for medals.

“I have the utmost faith and belief in them having worked alongside them for many years. I am certain our boxers will go to Rio in fantastic shape, ready to compete with the world’s best as the high performance structures are in place to ensure this.”

As recently as last week, IABA President Pat Ryan had indicated talks with Walsh were progressing.

Speaking to The42, he said: “It’s still in the negotiating room, but I’m very confident that the Irish Sports Council and the Irish Amateur Boxing Association will resolve this matter,” he said.

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Neil Treacy

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