Less than a week of leading an Irish team to three World Championships medals and indeed the countries first ever male gold medal victory High Performance Director Billy Walsh has resigned.
Walsh announced he has stepped down as head coach of the Irish High Performance Unit at mid day today.
In a statement released this afternoon by Walsh, the Wexford native stated that he resigned with “deep regret”.
Walsh spoke about the route that led to his resignation in his statement:
“Since February of this year I have been engaged in a process with the IABA to secure my future as Head Coach with the High Performance Unit and senior team. A protracted process that went on for eight months included numerous high level meetings that resulted in various proposals. In August a fair proposal was developed under the auspices of the Irish Sports Council (ISC) that was acceptable and fair but then not subsequently ratified by IABA.
“I was hopeful in recent weeks that a final proposal arising out of an approach in late September by the IABA would lead to a successful conclusion but unfortunately it didn’t.
“Regrettably the IABA have not made it possible for me to continue on in the role as Head Coach of the High Performance Unit and senior team.”
Walsh will now take up a position as USA Women’s team ahead of the Rio Olympic Games.
He added that it was a “huge honour for me as a coach to receive the opportunity work with such an iconic sporting nation that is the USA”.
There is some consolation for Irish fight fans and the countries Olympic medal hopes as a whole as Walsh confirmed he will not be bringing the highly regarded Zaur Antia with him Stateside.
“Zaur Antia, Jim Moore, Eddie Bolger, Pete Taylor, John Conlan, Billy McClean and Dmytri are well positioned to take my work and the work of the high performance programme forward and lead this senior team into Rio to compete for medals. I have the utmost faith and belief in them having worked alongside them for many years. I am certain our boxers will go to Rio in fantastic shape, ready to compete with the world’s best as the high performance structures are in place to ensure this.”
Walsh, has overseen Ireland’s greatest period in Amateur boxing and turned Ireland into one of the most respected fight nations in the World, paid tribute to the fighters that worked with him over the years.
“The boxers I have worked with (too many to mention for fear of leaving some out) have inspired and challenged me in equal measure and I salute their efforts, their courage and their amazing performances down through these last 14 years. I wish to thank them for their trust and support and for allowing me to continue in their corner for every fight they fought on the international stage. I wish them all every success in their endeavors to qualify and secure Olympic Medals at Rio and nobody will be more delighted to see Irish boxers succeed in Rio than me.”