Sports Council hoping for resolution to Walsh coaching crux

The Irish Amateur Boxing Association were last night maintaining a silent stance on Billy Walsh’s future as Irish head coach following speculation that the Wexford man is set to take up a coaching role with the United States’ boxing team.

Sports Council hoping for resolution to Walsh coaching crux

While a lucrative offer from American amateur boxing chiefs is reportedly on the table, Walsh yesterday refused to confirm whether he will take up the deal and was unwilling to comment on the developing situation when contacted last night.

Sources close to Walsh suggested the 52-year-old is undecided, but an apparent collapse in negotiations with the IABA seem to have backed the decorated coach into a corner with reports yesterday claiming that Walsh was willing to agree to the US deal.

However, it is believed that Walsh is still yet to make a final decision on the matter, while the Irish Sports Council is remaining hopeful that some resolution can be found to keep the Wexford man at the head of Irish boxing’s High Performance Unit.

The IABA were still yet to release a statement last night, while senior officials could not be reached for comment.

IABA chiefs are believed to have shot down a compromise proposal put forward by mediators earlier this week, which would have seen the Sports Council subsidise a new deal for Walsh.

That counter-offer is understood to have involved a boost to Walsh’s regular salary, believed to be in the region of €70,000, which would mainly depend on medal bonuses based on international success.

While the deal would not have matched what is believed to be an attractive package on the table for Walsh from the US, the coach was understood to have been receptive to the failed attempt at a compromise.

Walsh has led a significant revival in Irish amateur boxing, working alongside fellow coaches Zaur Antia, Pete Taylor, Eddie Bolger and John Conlan among others in the High Performance Unit.

Between the Beijing and London Olympic Games, Irish boxing has claimed seven medals to go with numerous European and World Championship honours.

In contrast, America failed to claim one male medal at the London 2012 Olympics, with female middleweight Claressa Shields (gold) and flyweight Marlen Esparza (bronze) their only success stories three years ago.

With the US seemingly keen to build on the achievements of their female boxers, Walsh has reportedly been approached by American boxing chiefs to coach their women’s team.

While he has previously received a number of offers from rival national bodies, past contract sagas have always been resolved but there remains a level of ill-feeling between Walsh and IABA chiefs over team selection issue and the independence of the High Performance Unit.

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