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Dublin: 9°C Saturday 17 April 2021
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Zaur's the man! Antia to stay as Irish boxing coach for the next 5 years

Antia’s decision “a vote of confidence in the future of Irish boxing.”

Antia:
Antia: "Delighted" to stay.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

ZAUR ANTIA WILL lead Ireland’s boxers to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and beyond after turning down offers from three other countries.

Antia has agreed a five-year deal which will see him serve as Irish boxing’s high performance head coach until 2021.

The Irish Amateur Boxing Association and the high performance system came under intense scrutiny following a calamitous Rio Olympics which saw a star-studded Irish squad win just four fights and return home empty-handed.

Further speculation about Antia’s future followed when it emerged that Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia and Canada were all interested in snapping up the Georgian-born coach’s services.

His decision to commit was welcomed as “a vote of confidence in the future of Irish boxing” by IABA chief executive Fergal Carruth.

“I am delighted on both a personal and professional basis to commit to Irish boxing,” Antia said.

“Ireland has been home for my family and I for the last 13 years and I am delighted that we are in a position to stay.

“I am also very excited about remaining part of the Irish High Performance system. We are, as is normal after any Olympic Games, in a period of transition but there remains a significant amount of talent and potential in the system as evidenced by the medals won by our team at the world youth championships in Russia last week and I am confident that with the right support and investment we can deliver future success.

“I am also looking forward to becoming more involved with the women’s programme and feel that the medals we won at the recent World and European Championships is evidence of the strides made in women’s boxing here.”

Carruth said: “I am thrilled that we have managed to fight off some tough competition from other countries to retain the coaching expertise of Zaur within the Irish High Performance programme. He has been an integral part of all the success achieved by Irish boxing since his arrival in 2003.

“His decision to stay is a vote of confidence in the future of Irish boxing and in the significant talent within the system across our men’s and women’s programmes.”

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