Katie Taylor's father Pete has given a lengthy interview to Vincent Hogan of the Irish Independent in the aftermath of some incredibly disappointing performances and uniformly dismaying results in the boxing ring at the Rio Olympics. The interview can be found on the Independent's website here.
Taylor refused to comment on his absence from his daughter's corner throughout the Games, but did admit that his daughter looked "frail" in the ring, evincing an opinion that all of the Irish boxers were overtrained going into the games.
Andy Lee also shared this opinion in the aftermath of Katie's defeat to Finland's Mira Potkonen. Lee had watched Katie train ahead of the Game, and told Second Captains that "she was training very hard and she was sparring him who is a lot heavier and obviously a male boxer, so she’d be up against it, but she just looked tired.... to me, even then, she looked over-trained".
Peter Taylor refused to level this criticism against Zaur Antia or any individual coaches, but instead believed it was a wide-ranging structural failure within the IABA, with the loss of Billy Walsh putting too much pressure on Antia, branding the IABA "a shambles". He believes that the Irish organisation needs a massive restructuring and the lack of adequate manpower left meant the Irish team was lacking direction.
Believing the entire team was left rudderless, Taylor cites the example of Paddy Barnes. Barnes admitted his poor performance in Rio was down to a mammoth struggle to make weight (the weight was 49 kg, with Barnes naturally around 58kg), and the fact that he was continued to force to cut weight, to Taylor, is illustrative of an association lacking leadership. These are extremely strong words:
With all the structures around him, all the doctors and sports scientists, Paddy went up to 58 kilos. With that, his body fat must have been 9-10pc.
Why didn't somebody say to him, "Paddy, when you're 49 kilos, your body fat's only going to be 2-3pc. You might make the weight, but you can't perform at that!
In my view, Paddy almost certainly has a case to sue the association. He's an employee of theirs, it's their responsibility to protect him. It's not just about winning medals, it's about a boxer's health. That should be the first consideration every time.
When Paddy retires, he has a big chance of facing osteoporosis and other issues from trying to make an unnatural weight. Then they're asking him why he's not performing...
But a decision about his weight should have been made after London. He's getting older, his weight is getting harder to make. You've just got to make these decisions even if the boxer himself objects to it. At the end of the day, what is your priority? Medals or the boxer's well-being?
How can you lose nearly a sixth of your body weight and expect it to function properly? You can't do it. It's insane.
There's loads more besides in the interview, which you can read in today's Irish Independent or on the Independent's website here.