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Billy Walsh believes any corrupt judges deserve prison time

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Former Irish head coach Billy Walsh is reluctant to claim that there was corruption at the recent Rio Olympics, but the Wexford man is adamant that, if there are any wrongdoers, they should be punished severely.

Walsh led a reinvigorated Team USA in Brazil and whilst he was there he was a witness to some questionable decisions, not least Mick Conlan’s bantamweight quarter final loss to Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1’s Drivetime, Walsh admitted that the judging for the ‘new scoring system was sub-par. The 53 year old described how “it [amateur boxing] probably took a blow for the worst, a low blow along the way.”

“Some of the judging that went on out there which probably left the game in a bit of turmoil.”

“A lot of people disagreed with the sport and the way in which it was moving, the type of boxing that was probably more conducive to professional boxing.”

“I’m sure the sport itself will take a good look at itself, in general, to review what went on in Rio, and come up with a plan on how to make it better.”

Walsh is not a supporter of the so-called more pro style of scoring which was reintroduced for these Games, and argues that “we need to have a good look at it again because the scoring system is too subjective.”

“If we’re teaching guys to fight to a certain system and then judges are judging the opposite way, it makes for a ridiculous situation.”

“Somebody said that a blind man could see that some of the decisions were wrong.”

“Michael [Conlan] definitely was badly aggrieved, and Katie [Taylor] as well.”

“For Katie it was tight at times, but for me she was better than the Finnish girl that got the decision.”

“I think the whole sport needs to look at itself, and I’m sure we’ll come up with a solution to drive on this fantastic sport for the next Olympic Games.”

Regarding corruption, Walsh outlined how “I’m probably a bit naive in many ways. I’d rather think that there isn’t [corruption], I’d rather think that it is poor judging.”

“But if that’s the case, those guys should be put in jail and there’s no better place to put them in jail than in Brazil.”

“You don’t get out of there too easily.”

“If some of those guys have been doing some skulduggery and bribes, and there has been corruption, then there’s only one place for them – jail.”

“All of us put our lives on hold for this, for the Olympic Games, all those athletes give up everything to achieve their ambitions – all they want is fair play when they get there.”

“If somebody is taking something under the table to prevent that happening then they deserve to be in jail.”

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: