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Andy Lee dismisses ‘Irish Boxing in Crisis’ Hysteria

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Athens 2004 Olympian Andy Lee has poured cold water on talk that Irish boxing is in crisis.

There has been plenty of hysteria surrounding the Irish team’s performances in Rio, with losses for David Oliver Joyce, Paddy Barnes, and Joe Ward, as well as the expulsion of Michael O’Reilly.

Lee, one of the original members of the High Performance Unit, however does not believe that the results are part of a larger trend and told Second Captains that “I just think it’s a series of unfortunate events.”

In a fascinating interview, the former WBO middleweight champion described Ireland’s bad start to the week and dismissed fears that the country’s boxers are in freefall. Lee explained that “there’s been a lot of talk about a crisis in Irish boxing, I just think it’s an unfortunate set of results

“Each of the losses we’ve had, Barnes, David Oliver Joyce, and Joe Ward, have all come under different circumstances.”

“They’ve been individual losses, each for different reasons.”

“I can’t see there being a connection between them.”

Detailing the three losses, Lee outlined how “my little sister could have beaten Paddy Barnes that night, he was dead at the weight.”

“David Oliver Joyce was up against a class operator in Selimov.”

“Joe Ward, I’ve a few gripes, I’m going to sound biased, but the referee didn’t help him. The referee, from the first bell, was very weak.”

“That was his gameplan [Mina], to mess with Joe Ward. There was no way he could beat Joe Ward, only that way, and he did it perfectly, Joe unfortunately fell into his trap.”

“But I still thought he did enough in that last round.”

Going forward, the Limerick southpaw is still predicting medals for Ireland, and stated that “I still think they’ll be successful the Irish team.”

“This time next week they’ll have a number of wins, they might be fighting for medals, and this week will just be put behind us.”

Listen to Andy Lee’s full interview with Second Captains below, including discussion on Billy Walsh, Michael O’Reilly, and the brilliance of Zaur Antia:

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie