Billy Walsh yesterday admitted his frustration with the length of time it has taken to secure a new deal with the Irish Amateur Boxing Association(IABA) but remains confident that pen will be put to paper inside the next fortnight.
The highly regarded Irish Olympic boxing coach, who is also conducting negotiations on behalf of fellow coach Zaur Antia, met with the IABA and the Irish Sports Council on the matter again last night.
“It is a bit of a nuisance because the (boxers in the high performance unit) all stayed because we were staying but hopefully it will be resolved,” he explained. “Everyone is positive and wants it to happen so please God it will happen.”
Walsh’s current contract still has two years to run but he expressed hisdissatisfaction with such a short-term deal and admitted he was keen to tie himself to one that will run as far as the next Olympic Games, in Rio de Janeiro, in 2016.
He also revealed that a number of offers to coach abroad remained on the table and added that: “It is just a matter of taking them up. I would prefer not to.”
That said, they remain usefulbargaining chips to bring to the table.
John Joe Nevin knows a thing or two about that having announced his decision to turn pro on RTÉ — which one wag told Walsh was “the best bit of horse trading they’d seen in a long time” — before doing a u-turn to remain in the amateur ranks.
“I thought he was doing that Brendan O’Connor Show a bit early, actually,” said Walsh. “He needed time to think it out. For his style and type of boxing, which is Olympic-style boxing rather than calling it amateur boxing, the pro game doesn’t really suit him.
“Yes, he would probably have had success early. If they invested money into him they would get him a few bums and a record of 15 or 20 (wins) but they are going to throw him in with somebody over ten rounds at some stage and John Joe is a mover.
“He can’t keep doing that for ten rounds. He is elusive but his chin is up and the pro game may be not for him. The Irish Sports Council have guaranteed him four years funding.
Nevin will supplement that income with a reprisal of his duties in the World Series of Boxing starting with a fight for the British Lionhearts in Newport, Wales this Saturday but going one better than his 2012 silver remains the goal.
“An Olympic medal was always my dream but when I got out of the ring in London I got another feeling that I missed out on the gold and (the chance) to join the Katie Taylor and Michael Carruth club.
“Hopefully, in four years’ time, I can do that. I know there is a risk but at least I’ll have tried and there is plenty of time to go pro after,” said Nevin who insisted that he will turn professional regardless after the 2016 Olympics.
Meanwhile, Walsh claimed to know little about a motion passed by Stormont Assembly members on Monday to establish a Northern Ireland Boxing Association and what the ramifications may be for the sport on the island.
“I only heard about it (yesterday) morning so I’m not really au fait with what’s going on. We’ve always been 32 counties so I don’t know what the problem is.”
“We’re one of the few sports who are 32 counties and, for us, we train with all creeds and colours and backgrounds. We’ve never had any issues.”
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