Billy Walsh has revealed he and Zaur Antia are staying on as Irish boxing’s chief coaches for Rio 2016 because they have some unfinished business — to finally bring home a men’s Olympic gold medal.
Irish boxing has received the best pre-Christmas present possible with the news that Walsh and Antia are renewing their contracts with the Irish boxing high performance unit for another four years after finally coming to an agreement with Irish Amateur Boxing Association officials in recent weeks.
Between Beijing 2009 and London 2012 Walsh and Antia have helped bring back seven Olympic medals, making up 25% of the medals Ireland has won in its entire Olympic history.
But it hasn’t been lost on Walsh that Katie Taylor is the only Irish boxer in the high performance era to have gone an Olympic Games unbeaten, as all six Olympic male medals have been either of the silver or bronze variety.
“To be honest I came back disappointed from London,” says Walsh, who gives an extensive interview in today’s Irish Examiner’s 32-page end of year supplement.
“Paddy [Barnes] should have been in the final. John Joe (Nevin) was good enough to win the final though not on the day. It’s been wrenching my gut since because it was a missed opportunity.
“The programme has been driven to win men’s gold medals, we’ve been knocking on the door twice and we still haven’t got over that line. There’s still that drive and ambition to achieve that. We need to win that (gold).”
Walsh has also expressed his relief that Antia and himself have agreed terms with the national governing body.
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