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‘Hardest thing I’ve ever done’ – Emotional Billy Walsh hails ‘real hero’ Kurt Walker

Billy Walsh revealed masterminding the Olympic demise of Kurt Walker was the hardest thing he has ever had to do.

The former High-Performance boss is now head of America’s boxing program and thus was in the corner of Duke Ragan as he defeated the Lisburn stylist in an Olympic featherweight medal fight on Sunday morning.

The Wexford native was happy for the fighter he currently coached but admits seeing Ragan’s success come at the expense of Walker was very hard.

Speaking to reporters in Tokyo following Ragan’s win over Walker, an emotional Walsh said: “It was the hardest thing I have ever done.

“In 2012, we brought Kurt into the Irish program for this day and I was part of preventing him from achieving that.”

Although the Canal BC fighter didn’t manage to medal, Walsh claims has been the standout featherweight at the Games.

“Kurt has been the standout in this division at the Olympics, his coaches are the best in the world.

“For me, as an Irishman, it’s the worst place in the world to be. He deserves a medal. But I’m happy because my boy won.

“At the end of the day, he is a real hero. He’s a great kid. He’s got a massive future in amateur boxing and I wish him every success.”

The former High-Performance boss reveals it was also difficult to go up against Zaur Antia and John Conlan, friends and former colleagues.

“They were my colleagues for 12 years. It’s been an emotional roller-coaster.”

Yeah, this has been hard. This is the first time at the Olympic Games that we’ve met. Even though it’s five and a half years removed from when I left, all my colleagues are there. They’re a great team and I miss them.”


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years