Dean Walsh guarantees improvement as Irish boxing enters new chapter
If you are to believe some people, the Irish boxing team is in crisis. The Class of 2016 is being ripped apart, with boxers going pro while others step away.
Cooler heads will point out that this is just the nature of amateur boxing, and that age and pro ambitions means that this was always going to be case for the Rio team.
One of the men who is staying is Wexford’s Dean Walsh. Still just 22, the three-time Senior 64kg champ has now become one of the elder statesmen of the new Irish team and he spoke to Irish-Boxing.com about a squad in flux
Walsh is quick to allay any fears, and revealed that the new-look squad have gelled quickly, describing how “we started back up training three weeks ago and it’s a whole new team, most of the champions are gone and some new but familiar faces are there, but the team spirit is always buzzing.”
“Believe it or not, this time last year I was one of the babies of the team, so I guess there would be a bit of responsibility heading into the new cycle for Toyko – but in saying that, the guys on the team, even the younger guys are mature, and are well able to handle themselves.”
Despite his young age, Walsh is battle-hardened, and for him the Olympics were a tough watch. He explained how “losing to the Azerbaijani [Lorenzo Sotomayor] on a split in the qualifiers in June then seeing him win a silver medal, and also the World champion from Russia [Vitaly Dunaytsev] who I lost to him twice on a split decision and he won bronze – it’s very heartbreaking to know I could have been there.”
“So I took a break in the summer, regrouped, and now I’m back at it full swing.”
The European Championships bronze medalist admits to having his head turned by the pro game, but feels he still has a lot to give in the amateur first, and promised that “I can improve immensely over the next few years – and I can guarantee that.”
“There’s to be a lot improvements around inside and outside of boxing and my game will improve.”
“I will stick at 64kg and I hope to bring my fourth title home in February to Wexford town.”