(OCT 20) Barring an
unlikely last minute ‘change of heart’ Ireland’s Head
Performance Unit Coach, Billy Walsh seems destined to take over
a similar role at USA Boxing in charge of their women’s team for
the forthcoming 2016 AIBA World Elite championships in
Kazakhstan and later of course for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Billy Walsh with Katie & Peter
Taylor after London 2012
Walsh, who led the Irish team in
Qatar last week to their best ever haul of Gold, Silver and
Bronze medals and fourth place in the medal tables today
tendered his resignation to Irish CEO Fergal Carruth and this
was later accepted. This evening the IABA switchboard and that
of funding masters Sport Ireland (Irish Sports Council) was
inundated with calls from angry members of the Irish boxing
fraternity and from the Irish media.
Just to remind readers that Billy Walsh and the Irish Sports
Council had agreed in principle a new deal in talks with the
IABA some weeks ago but astonishingly since it was the Irish
Sports Council and NOT the IABA who were funding the package,
the then IABA Executive and Boxing Council ‘vetoed’ the deal
that their own team had only days previously agreed.
Today the IABA accepted his resignation but according to sources
in the Irish capital their revised offer was for him to remain
in office on their terms but only providing his services as a
“contractor”. Most Irish boxing enthusiasts were astonished at
this insult to one of the nation’s most successful coaches in
Walsh issued his own statement Monday:
“Regrettably the IABA has not made it possible for me to
continue on in the role as Head Coach of the High Performance
Unit and senior team,” he said.
Speaking on RTE Radio’s News at One, Walsh admitted it was the
most difficult decision of his professional career but said he
had no choice but to move on.
“It’s time for me to move on, I have a deadline as well with
people from America who offered me a position as head coach,” he
“It was about respect around your role and position, to lead
your team through to Rio.
“It’s a long-term venture which gives me a bit of security and
it’s a fantastic opportunity.”
As to the longer term future, WBAN understands this could also
lead to his taking charge of the USA Boxing men’s team well
before Tokyo 2020.
“Mentally, it’s been very, very stressful over the last eight
months. It has taken its toll in some ways,” he admitted.
“I spent a lot of time crying this morning around this decision,
but I think for the best of my health, for my future, it’s the
best way for me to move on.
“I went back time after time to try and make this work. For my
own dignity and respect I felt I couldn’t stoop any lower.
On Monday evening among the first to react to the news of her
friend and HPU coach’s departure was Olympic Gold medallist
Talking in Dublin, she said it was ‘a very sad day for Irish
boxing’ - speaking in Dublin today, she said she was shocked and
saddened by the news.
She described Walsh as an extraordinary man and an amazing coach
who had done so much for the Irish boxing team and for her over
She said she had hoped the situation would have been resolved
with the boxing association and she said it was a big loss for
Ironically it is just possible that Walsh will now be coaching
Mikaela Mayer or Tiara Brown or another United States hopeful,
against Taylor in Kazakhstan or indeed in Rio.
Tonight (Oct. 19) the IABA issued its own statement saying:
“The Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) announces that it
has accepted with regret the resignation of Billy Walsh as Head
Coach of the High Performance Unit.
Commenting, Fergal Carruth, CEO of the IABA, said: “The IABA has
been in discussions with Billy following his approach to the
organisation to seek improved terms and conditions after he
stated that he had received an offer from USA Boxing. The IABA
is deeply disappointed not to retain his valued services, and
for the avoidance of any doubt, the IABA has done its utmost to
retain Billy Walsh as Head Coach. However, Billy himself has
made the decision to resign and take up a position with USA
Boxing, and we wish him every success with this.”
Among Irish media outlets, albeit prior to publishing of
Tuesday’s early editions, SportsNewsIRELAND called for the
immediate disbanding of the IABA and the formation of a new
It’s banner headline read : “Billy Walsh resignation – IABA ‘not
fit for purpose’ – for Goodness sake GO NOW!” Come Tuesday’s
daily papers, the IABA will be under even greater fire with both
media and boxing clubs and their coaches already commenting
The Irish Sports Council, a semi-state body which provides
funding for the IABA also came under fire with SportsNews
Ireland saying that they too need to look at their own position
having allowed the IABA effectively to overrule them – they had
already agreed a new package for Walsh weeks ago but the IABA
boxing council changed their mind and then ignored the Irish
Sports Council’s repeated calls for Walsh’s package to be
Tonight the Irish Sports Council/Sport Ireland paid glowing
tribute to Walsh and ended their lengthy statement with a
comment which could well speak trouble for the IABA saying:
“Sport Ireland will now have to review the outcome of its recent
engagement with the IABA.”
That could spell trouble for the IABA especially as Walsh’s
departure is bound to be raised in the Irish Parliament this
At the time of writing there has been no official comment from
USA Boxing though according to WBAN sources Walsh is due to
travel to Colorado Springs on Wednesday.