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Billy Walsh Admits Regret For Talking Michael Conlan Into Competing At Rio 2016

Billy Walsh Admits Regret For Talking Michael Conlan Into Competing At Rio 2016
By Mikey Traynor
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Having made an undefeated start to his pro career where he has finished every opponent put in front of him thus far, Michael Conlan has put the debacle of the Rio 2016 Olympics behind him.

The Belfast native made headline news around the world for his entirely justified rant after being robbed by the judges last summer, but even a year on there is a lingering thought of 'what if?' that some have not been able to escape.

One of those men is Billy Walsh. Now head coach of the USA's amateur boxing team, he was in Conlan's corner in Rio and had to watch on as Vladimir Nikitin saw his hand raised, which was something that hurt Walsh more than most as he revealed to RTÉ Sport.

When I saw the debacle in Rio I felt sorry because in London I talked him into staying for four years to go and win the gold medal.

In some ways he had achieved that a year before, he was the best in the world when he became the first Irishman to be elite world champion, a great feat.

And then to go to Rio and get robbed I just felt gutted for him. He had put so much into that and was in great condition.


While he does feel guilty for having convinced Conlan to give the Olympics another go, Walsh did acknowledge that the fact that Conlan made a name for himself around the world as a result of the farcical decision and his reaction to it, it has benefitted his pro career.


It’s a shame he didn’t get to fulfil his dream but in many ways he got a lot of publicity, for the wrong reasons, and made a bit of a name for himself.

That was a good launching pad for his professional career and he doesn’t need much more motivation. He’s a very driven young man and an out-and-out winner.

There's no doubt that more people became aware of Conlan, and the fact that he looked on course to claim that gold medal, having seen the fallout from that awful result, but you can't help but ponder would a gold medal done as much, or more, if he went on to collect it in style.


At the end of the day, Conlan looks set to enjoy a long and successful career, but he was denied his dream, and that's something that weighs heavy on the man who convinced him to chase it.

[via RTÉ.ie]

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