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.
By Brendan O’Brien
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.”
By Peter O' DwyerIt's been described as the warrior game, the fastest game on grass and the game of the gods – so fittingly, last week the heavens provided the backdrop for some of the most spectacular hurling shots you're ever likely to see.
Martin O'Neill has responded with surprise and good humour to the news that Scottish football fans want their home game against Ireland in the Euro Championship qualifiers in November played at Ibrox rather than Celtic Park.
Republic of Ireland 1 Serbia 2In a game of two halves at the Aviva last night, Ireland were a team of two halves — frequently exciting when going forward but always vulnerable and occasionally self-destructive at the back.
Ferry and freight services company Irish Continental Group (ICG) has reported a solid set of figures for 2013, but has also noted a slight drop in business in the early part of this year, due to bad weather.
The Ennis Book Club Festival (March 7-9) is a reader's delight. "Other literary festivals are about writing skills and getting published. Our workshops are different. One of our really popular events is called 'Ten Books You Should Read'," says chairperson, Ciana Campbell.
Ryan Tubridy has posed for a new photograph for schoolgirl Sarah Ryan to sketch — after the photographer responsible for the picture on which Sarah's original drawing was based objected to her use of the image.
Alan Shatter has said that 11 out of 12 cases in a dossier of whistleblower claims are 'groundless' on the basis that alleged Garda malpractice had been investigated by the gardaí. But how thorough were these investigations, asks Michael Clifford.
For most Irish sport lovers, probably the most romantic story of 2013 was the All-Ireland senior hurling championship win by Clare, a precocious and mercurial side guided by a precocious and mercurial management team, led by Davy Fitzgerald.