‘My Boys are Here’ – Zaur plans to stay with Ireland

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Despite interest from six other nations, Zaur Antia intends to stick with Ireland for the foreseeable future.

The Georgian technical coach is seen as the man who revolutionised Irish amateur boxing and helped make Ireland one of the leading countries in World boxing.

However, a disappointing Olympic Games in Rio raised fears that the Bray-based coach could be pinched by another programme.

Speaking yesterday at Team Ireland’s arrival back at Dublin Airport, Antia allayed fears and explained that “I did not make any decision, you know? My work is here. My boys are here.”

“I think I will stay, but we’ll see. I want the team to [get] more respect, this is a great team and they deserve respect, and the group.”

“This is a very strong team and we have very strong reserves.”

Indeed rather than act as a reason to leave, Antia is motivated to stay to help rebuild after the Games in Brazil, and he admitted that “I’m not happy with this, I can’t go without winning,”

“In my heart, I want to see my team strong again.”

“Everybody seen the fights, everybody saw how well our team done. My heart is broken, but I don’t feel miserable,”

“We did not win medals, but every boxer performed well and everybody who was there said how close the fights were.”

With some commentators baying for blood, Antia stressed that the boxers had prepared well for Rio but noted that a review of the High Performance Unit will take place. The Eastern European coach described how “I have all the details of how we prepared, how we measured each boxer’s condition – their psychology, physiology.”

“We have video analysis, we have absolutely everything we should have to show people.”

“We will review everything, of course,”

“We have a great programme. We prepare boxers well. Everything you do, next time you have to do different. There are always ways you can do better.”

“We will learn from things, review everything. We have a very good plan already.”

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