As the Dáil goes to war with the IABA in Leinster House, Billy Walsh's new employers have chosen a rather good time to release a statement. As the Irish powers that be quarrel away, Walsh is in Memphis with the US squad for the female boxers Olympic trials.
Granted, there may be questions to answer for the IABA but the farcical nature of the situation has never been as stark as this. Irish officials trading jibes over what went wrong while USA Boxing release the kind of statement that Irish boxing fans will know was coming but will still hate to see.
The statement begins by welcoming Walsh before outlining exactly what Irish boxing is losing.
A 1988 Olympian and the architect behind the most successful era in Irish boxing, Walsh brings his extensive expertise to USA Boxing's women's program. "It is a huge honor for me as a coach to receive the opportunity to work with such an iconic boxing nation as the United States. It was with great pride that I was part of building the successful Irish program over the past several years and I hope to do the same with USA Boxing".
Here's the full statement.
The United States currently has one of the strongest women's boxing programs in the world, but USA Boxing's female athletes will now have another tool at their disposal heading in to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. USA Boxing has named highly decorated international coach Billy Walsh to serve as the organization's Women's National Team Coach.
A 1988 Olympian and the architect behind the most successful era in Irish boxing, Walsh brings his extensive expertise to USA Boxing's women's program. "It is a huge honor for me as a coach to receive the opportunity to work with such an iconic boxing nation as the United States. It was with great pride that I was part of building the successful Irish program over the past several years and I hope to do the same with USA Boxing," Walsh said. "I am greatly looking forward to the opportunities ahead in bringing my expertise and experience to the United States Women's Team as they prepare for success in Rio and beyond."
Walsh joins USA Boxing following 12 years with the Irish Amateur Boxing Association as the federation's Head Coach and Director of the High Performance Unit. During his tenure, Walsh led Irish boxers to more than 50 medals in the European and World Championships in addition to seven medals in the last two Olympic Games.
"Coach Walsh brings extensive experience and knowledge with a proven record of success on the international boxing stage. He provides great leadership and stability for our female athletes, particularly the resident boxers at the Olympic Training Center. His commitment to Olympic-style boxing is evident in the impact he's had on the Irish boxing program," said USA Boxing Executive Director Mike Martino. "We look forward to integrating Coach Walsh and his international knowledge with the personal coaches across the United States who are responsible for developing and guiding our elite athletes. We appreciate the USOC's support of our program and goals for the future."
With Walsh at the helm, Ireland placed fourth in the overall medal standings standings at the Elite Men's World Championships earlier this month, winning three medals, including a gold medal in the bantamweight division. In his role as Women's National Team Head Coach, Walsh will work with the High Performance team to develop and execute USA Boxing's international calendar as well as overseeing the resident program at the United States Olympic Training Center. He will also work on identifying elite coaches that will assist in guiding athletes in international competitions and preparatory training camps.
Walsh took up the sport of boxing when he was only seven-years-old and reached the highest level as an athlete prior to becoming an elite coach. He competed in the welterweight division in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea, was a seven-time Irish elite champion, and represented Ireland at the 1989 and 1991 World Championships as an athlete before entering the coaching ranks. Walsh took over as Head Coach of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association in 2003 and under his tutelage, the Irish boxing program grew to new heights with every major international competition.
Coach Walsh is currently in Memphis, Tenn., for the Olympic Trials for Women's Boxing and will relocate to Colorado Springs, Colo., in mid-November.