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Mick Conlan: “Zaur has always been the main man”

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Mick Conlan wants an end to all the media hysteria which has identified the departure of former head coach Billy Walsh as the reason behind Irish losses at the ongoing Rio Olympics.

Walsh linked up with Team USA last year and, following a string of defeats for Irish boxers in Rio, much talk has centred around the absence of the Wexford coach.

Speaking to Irish media yesterday after his comfortable Last 16 win over Armenian Aram Avagyan, the Belfast bantamweight took the opportunity to hit out at what he sees as Walsh-focused negative coverage

Conlan told the scrum that “another thing I want to address is all you guys, every single media person here, keep going on about Billy Walsh.”

Indeed Conlan, like some such as Andy Lee, believes that Ireland have fallen victim to “a series of unfortunate events, it is what it is, but we’re here to win gold and that Billy’s not in the corner doesn’t mean anything.”

The Clonard fighter pointed to Georgian-born Bray-based coach Zaur Antia as the real culprit behind Ireland’s phenomenally successful High Performance Unit. Conlan explained that “it is getting annoying for boxing because Zaur Antia has always been the main man and always will be the main man.”

“I’m looking forward to him bringing me to the Olympic gold medal and my father being in my corner.”

“He has always been the main man and always will be as head coach.”

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: