Michael Carruth: 20 years since golden moment. INPHO/James Crombie
Seconds out

If boxers don’t win gold, London will be a failure for us, says Michael Carruth

The pressure is on Billy Walsh’s fighters to deliver this summer, according to the Barcelona ’92 hero.

OLYMPIC CHAMPION Michael Carruth has predicted that Ireland’s boxers will capture at least one gold medal at the London Games this summer.

Carruth, who won an Olympic gold medal in the Barcelona boxing ring in 1992, believes the Irish squad has the potential to surpass the triple medal achievements of the Irish boxers in 2008.

“None of us foresaw the three medals at Beijing,” he said. “The medal winners, Kenny Egan and the late, great Darren Sutherland, qualified in the latter stages. Paddy Barnes was always going to have a chance.

“I think we have a better team now than we had in Beijing. Paddy is knocking on the door again. We have Joe Ward, who won a tournament (Chemistry Cup) last week and beat a former world champion in the process. His confidence must be sky high.”

Carruth told TheScore this morning: “If we don’t win a gold medal this year it will be a failure. In saying that, I’m putting my old buddy, Billy Walsh (Irish Amateur Boxing Association High Performance head coach), under pressure. It has been 20 years since I won at the Olympic Games. We need to be winning again, either through the male or female version.

“They have been fully funded for the last 10 years. We have shown in the European and World (championships) that we are capable of winning medals and we now have to show we can do it at the next level. I’ve been privileged to be the first; I don’t want to be the last.”

What Katie did

Carruth was speaking at the official sponsorship announcement of Cadbury with the Olympic Council of Ireland and Paralympics Ireland. Referring to the chances of Ireland’s gold medal favourite in the women’s boxing division, Katie Taylor, he remarked, “She has beaten anyone that has been put in front of her before so we can’t say she won’t do it again.”

The event, which took place on Tuesday at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin, was attended by Olympic athletes Paul Hession and Grainne Murphy and world champion paralympic cyclist Catherine Walsh.

“It is amazing for all of us that the games will be in London and so close to home,” said sprinter Hession. “There is a big Irish community over there and the support will be massive but I’d compete in an Olympics if it was on Mars.”

Pat Hickey, President of the OCI, added, “We are in great shape for London. Our goal was to have between 40 and 60 athletes travelling to the games and it looks as if we are going to end up closer to 60.

“It was tremendously disappointing that the women’s hockey team, and the men a week before them, couldn’t make that final step. Having a team involved would have really lifted the spirits of the squad.”

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