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'We've never been so well off' - Jimmy Magee backs boxers to equal Beijing medal haul

The veteran commentator believes Billy Walsh’s Irish team is the best the country has ever sent to an Olympics.

Magee.
Magee.
Image: INPHO/James Crombie

JIMMY MAGEE IS a man who knows a thing or two about Olympic boxing.

The legendary RTE commentator, who travelled to London yesterday, is set to work at his 11th Games (14 if you include three winter editions) spanning over 40 years.

He was sat ringside when Michael Carruth took gold in 1992 and was present in Beijing four years ago as Paddy Barnes, Kenny Egan and the late Darren Sutherland all picked up medals.

And with just days to go until Friday’s opening ceremony, Magee is backing Billy Walsh’s six-strong boxing team, which he says is the strongest the country has ever possessed, to at least equal that tally of three this time around.

We’ve never been so well off in the boxing department,” the 77-year-old told TheScore. “At this moment, before a glove is tied up, this team that’s going to London may be the best one we’ve ever sent.

“It is possible that every one of the six going could get a medal. They’re good enough and they’ve been there before. Paddy Barnes has had bronze at Beijing. John Joe Nevin has got bronze in the last two World Championships.

“Darren O’Neill has been a European champion. Katie Taylor is virtually unbeatable in major competitions. If they can do it there, they can do it in London.

“Having said that, they mightn’t win everything as you can get injured, sick, be the victim of a bad decision… anything can happen.

Taylor is a raging cert to win some kind of a medal, however, and I’d bet that we will win at least three boxing medals.”

As well as Taylor, who is seen as the overwhelming favourite to clinch gold at her first Games, Magee also tipped 20-year-old flyweight Michael Conlan to achieve great things in the future.

“Michael Conlon is bloody brilliant and the most unknown of them all. He’s very talented. If he doesn’t win in London he definitely will in Brazil.”

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