Billy Walsh future being dealt with ‘urgently’, says IABA

Billy Walsh “has not tendered his resignation”, according to a statement issued by the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) last night.

After days of silence from the association, IABA chief executive Fergal Carruth finally issued a press release on the matter of Walsh’s future, although the Wexford coach’s intentions remain uncertain.

Confusion has reigned over Walsh’s future since reports last week speculated that he was on the verge of taking up an offer from US boxing chiefs to coach their women’s team.

“This is an employer/employee matter,” read the statement, signed off on by Carruth, brother of Olympic gold medalist Michael.

“Billy Walsh is currently on annual leave and has not tendered his resignation to the IABA. This is an issue of the utmost urgency for the IABA and is being dealt with accordingly.

“The IABA will release a full and thorough statement once these discussions have concluded.

“Any further comment would be unhelpful and inappropriate in these circumstances,” added the statement.

Adding to the uncertainty over Walsh’s future, a post on the IABA’s website yesterday listed the Wexford native as a coach, along with Zaur Antia, for the Feliks Stamm tournament in Poland, which is due to get underway tomorrow week, September 9.

Walsh’s inclusion on the IABA list can not necessarily be taken as confirmation of his long-term commitment to his current role, but sources close to the 52-year-old had suggested he was still yet to make a decision on his future over the weekend.

It is believed that an IABA meeting was held last night to discuss the matter, but a number of IABA officials, including Carruth could not be reached for further comment.

While Walsh’s travel plans for next week’s event in Poland are yet to be confirmed, two-time Olympic medallist Paddy Barnes is set to fight for the first time in five months at the event as part of a six-fighter squad.

Barnes will box at flyweight (52kg), as fellow Belfast fighter Brendan Irvine takes up his usual light-flyweight (49kg) position.

Twenty-eight-year-old Barnes is already qualified for next year’s Olympic Games in Rio at 49kg, but an unusual selection conundrum could yet develop as Irvine will compete at that weight at October’s World Championships in Doha, which is also an Olympic qualifier.

Lightweight Seán McComb and middleweight Michael O’Reilly will also use the Polish tournament as a warm-up event for the Worlds.

Wayne Kelly makes up the men’s team at light-welterweight, while Cavan’s Ceire Smith will also travel.

Meanwhile, Matthew Macklin is aiming to book a December date in Dublin once he gets his next fight out of the way in October.

The 33-year-old Birmingham-born Irish middleweight shook off the rust by claiming a one-round knockout of German Chris Herrmann last Friday night in Marbella.

The former two-time European middleweight champion was headlining a card staged by the promotional wing of his own training base, Macklin’s Gym Marbella (MGM), in the Spanish port town.

Macklin kick-started a three-fight plan to build towards a challenge for a world light-middleweight title with the win and will officially move down to 154lbs for his October 17 bout against Tividale’s Jason Welborn in Birmingham on a Sky Sports/Matchroom card.

MGM look set to stage another fight card in Dublin’s National Stadium in November, which is likely to feature Jamie Conlan and Jamie Kavanagh, but Macklin may instead fight in the capital the following month.

“I’ll get out in October and win that, it is officially for the WBC International title, so I’ll win that and I’ll get a ranking,” said Macklin.

“And then I think I’m out again in December in Dublin. So I’ll have had three wins in 2015, lots of momentum and I’ll be good to go.”


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