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Billy Walsh officially unveiled in US: Michael Conlan's former trainer becomes head coach for US women's team

Published 28/10/2015

Winning combination: Billy Walsh with Belfast’s Michael Conlan en route to winning Ireland’s first World Championship gold in Doha
Winning combination: Billy Walsh with Belfast’s Michael Conlan en route to winning Ireland’s first World Championship gold in Doha

The US women's boxing team confirmed Billy Walsh as their head coach on Wednesday.

Walsh, who has been at the forefront of a decade of unrelenting success for Irish amateur boxing, dropped his bombshell resignation last Monday.

USA Boxing said in a statement: "The United States currently has one of the strongest women’s boxing program in the world, but USA Boxing’s female athletes will now have another tool at their disposal heading in to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"USA Boxing has named highly decorated international coach Billy Walsh to serve as the organization’s Women’s National Team Coach."

Walsh said: "It is a huge honour for me as a coach to receive the opportunity to work with such an iconic boxing nation as the United States. It was with great pride that I was part of building the successful Irish program over the past several years and I hope to do the same with USA Boxing.

"I am greatly looking forward to the opportunities ahead in bringing my expertise and experience to the United States Women’s Team as they prepare for success in Rio and beyond."

USA Boxing Executive Director Mike Martino hailed Walsh’s record as an elite coach.

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"Coach Walsh brings extensive experience and knowledge with a proven record of success on the international boxing stage. He provides great leadership and stability for our female athletes, particularly the resident boxers at the Olympic Training Center. His commitment to Olympic-style boxing is evident in the impact he’s had on the Irish boxing program,” said Martino.

Michael Conlan of Ireland kisses his coach Billy Walsh after beating Murodjon Akhmadaliev of Uzbekistan in the final of the Men's Bantam Weight during the AIBA World Boxing Championships Doha 2015 at the Ali Bin Hamad Al-Attiya Arena on October 14, 2015 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Michael Conlan of Ireland kisses his coach Billy Walsh after beating Murodjon Akhmadaliev of Uzbekistan in the final of the Men's Bantam Weight during the AIBA World Boxing Championships Doha 2015 at the Ali Bin Hamad Al-Attiya Arena on October 14, 2015 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Ireland's Paddy Barnes (red) with head coach Billy Walsh celebrates after securing a Bronze medal in his Men's Boxing Light Flyweight bout against India's Devendro Singh Laishram at the Excel Arena, London

"We look forward to integrating Coach Walsh and his international knowledge with the personal coaches across the United States who are responsible for developing and guiding our elite athletes. We appreciate the USOC’s support of our program and goals for the future."

The USA Boxing statement added: “Walsh joins USA Boxing following 12 years with the Irish Amateur Boxing Program as the federation’s Head Coach and Director of the High Performance Unit. During his tenure, Walsh led Irish boxers to more than 50 medals in the European and World Championships in addition to seven medals in the last two Olympic Games."

With Walsh at the helm, Ireland placed fourth in the overall medal standings standings at the Elite Men’s World Championships earlier this month, winning three medals, including a gold medal in the bantamweight division.

Belfast's world champion Michael Conlan hailed the influence of Walsh following his surprise exit from Ireland's high performance unit.

While Conlan has been guided throughout his career by dad John - the Ulster high performance coach - he was quick to praise Walsh who was in his corner when the 23-year-old Belfast man made history by becoming the first Irish man to strike gold at the World championships, in Doha.

"It's very disappointing that Billy is leaving because he has helped me a lot, he's been something of a mentor and has been a great ambassador for Irish boxing," said Conlan.

"When I won my first Irish title and got into the Irish high performance unit, Billy was right behind me from the start. He could see my ability and he really backed me to do well. He has been great with all the lads and for me personally he became a very good friend."

In his role as Women’s National Team Head Coach, Walsh will work with the High Performance team to develop and execute USA Boxing’s international calendar as well as overseeing the resident program at the United States Olympic Training Center.

He will also work on identifying elite coaches that will assist in guiding athletes in international competitions and preparatory training camps.

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