Billy Walsh gets ready for action in Memphis

Former Ireland head coach Billy Walsh will sign a contract with USA Boxing this week in Memphis.
Billy Walsh gets ready for action in Memphis

“I will sign some day this week, I don’t know which day yet,” said Walsh, who is in Memphis, Tennessee, for the USA Olympic trials which began yesterday at the Cook Convention Centre.

Walsh, who has been the number one target of USA Boxing for almost a year, resigned as Ireland head coach last Monday in a move which has convulsed Irish boxing.

“Team USA have gone out of their way to make us feel at home and I’m looking forward to working with the boxers that emerge in Memphis.”

Walsh will take over as Team USA women’s coach with immediate effect this week although the Americans also want him to train the men’s team immediately. He said that there’s a short time frame to bring immediate success.

“The World Women’s Championships and Olympic qualifiers are just around the corner in Kazakhstan in January and that’s our focus now.

“There’s just three Olympic weight classes for women. That’s the target at the Worlds, but we have just a few weeks really to work on that.

“We’ll bring a team to Rio in December for the Olympic test event and that will be part of our preparations for Kazakhstan. The dates have been pulled back a bit for Kazakhstan which hasn’t helped.

“Kazakhstan and the Rio Olympics are the immediate targets. But after that it will be the Tokyo Olympics. Hopefully, there will be five weight classes for women by then.”

Walsh accepts that the lightweight he brings to Kazakhstan may meet Katie Taylor, who will be aiming for her sixth successive title in Central Asia.

“It could happen in Kazakhstan. There’s no one here to match Katie yet. She’s an icon, she’s an icon to me the way she constantly strives to be the best and is the best.

“There’s no one here to match her yet, but give them some time. It’s my job to train them to be the best they can be and that means training them to beat the best (Katie). That’s my job.

“We have quality here in Memphis, some very talented young boxers at the trials. They’re Olympic and world medallists. It’s going to be very interesting to see who emerges.

“It’s undoubtedly a big challenge, but the quality is here and it’s a challenge I relish. I’m used to being under the cosh to deliver back at home anyway.”

Walsh will fly home after the trials for a short period before returning to the USA. “I have three flights a year home,” said Walsh, who is planning to visit Graceland, home of Elvis Presley, when he gets some time off.

“I guess that when you’re in Memphis you have to visit the home of the King.”

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