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Billy Walsh quits: Olympian John Joe Nevin leads chorus of outrage after Michael Conlan's coach resigns

Published 20/10/2015

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)

London Olympic silver medallist John Joe Nevin led a chorus of outrage last night over the loss of Billy Walsh to Irish boxing.

The Wexford man's decision to take up a post in the United States means that Ireland parts company with its most successful Olympic coach after eight months of trying to negotiate a new deal with the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA).

"IABABOXING should be shamed," tweeted Nevin after Walsh's patience finally snapped over the Association's reluctance to tie him down to a long-term deal.

US boxing officials have been courting Walsh for eight months now, yet the IABA consistently refused to sign off on a new package that would have been Government-funded in full.

Multiple world champion Katie Taylor lamented the loss of "an extraordinary man" to Irish boxing, while double Olympic bronze medallist Paddy Barnes expressed concern that Walsh's departure could now trigger the loss too of his right-hand man, Zaur Antia.

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Michael Conlan's coach Billy Walsh resigns: I was crying this morning over decision  

Walsh will earn significantly more money in the US, yet it is accepted that the stumbling blocks to a new deal with the IABA were "non-financial".

Sport Ireland yesterday issued a statement damning of the Association's failure to reach an agreement, pointing out that they believed a resolution had been reached on August 22, but that it was "not clear why this proposal was never presented to the Board of the IABA as agreed".

The IABA, meanwhile, said they had accepted Walsh's resignation "with regret".

Ireland's Michael Conlan with his daughter Luisne as he returns to Dublin Airport after winning gold in the AIBA World Elite Championships in Doha.
Ireland's Michael Conlan with his daughter Luisne as he returns to Dublin Airport after winning gold in the AIBA World Elite Championships in Doha.
Ireland's Michael O'Reilly (left) Michael Conlan (centre) and Joe Ward return to Dublin Airport after competing in the AIBA World Elite Championships in Doha. PA
Ireland's Michael O'Reilly (left) Michael Conlan (centre) and Joe Ward return to Dublin Airport after competing in the AIBA World Elite Championships in Doha. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday October 16, 2015. See PA story BOXING Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Ireland's Michael Conlan with his daughter Luisne (left) and Joe Ward returns to Dublin Airport after winning gold in the AIBA World Elite Championships in Doha. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday October 16, 2015. See PA story BOXING Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Ireland's Michael O'Reilly (left) Michael Conlan (centre) and Joe Ward return to Dublin Airport after competing in the AIBA World Elite Championships in Doha. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday October 16, 2015. See PA story BOXING Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Michael Conlan of Ireland poses with his trophy after winning against Fazliddin Gaibnazarov of Uzbekistan during the final of Men's Light weight of the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Doha on October 14, 2015. Michael Conlan survived a last minute knockdown to create boxing history, becoming the first Irishman to win an AIBA World Boxing Championship title. AFP PHOTO / FAISAL AL-TAMIMIFAISAL AL-TAMIMI/AFP/Getty Images
Fazliddin Gaibnazarov of Uzbekistan (R) fights with Michael Conlan of Ireland during the final of Men's Light weight of the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Doha on October 14, 2015. Michael Conlan survived a last minute knockdown to create boxing history, becoming the first Irishman to win an AIBA World Boxing Championship title. AFP PHOTO / FAISAL AL-TAMIMIFAISAL AL-TAMIMI/AFP/Getty Images
Murodjon Akhmadaliev of Uzbekistan, in red, fights Michael Conlan of Ireland, during the Bantam weight final of the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Osama Faisal)
Murodjon Akhmadaliev of Uzbekistan, in red, fights Michael Conlan of Ireland, during the Bantam weight final of the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Osama Faisal)
DOHA, QATAR - OCTOBER 14: (L_R) Murodjon Akhmadaliev of Uzbekistan (silver), Michael Conlan of Ireland (gold), Dzmitry Asanau of Belarusand (bronze) and Shiva Thapa (bronze) of India poses with their medals after the final of the Men's 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)
DOHA, QATAR - OCTOBER 14: Michael Conlan of Ireland (blue) fights 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)
DOHA, QATAR - OCTOBER 14: Michael Conlan of Ireland celebrates 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)
DOHA, QATAR - OCTOBER 14: Michael Conlan of Ireland (blue) fights 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)
DOHA, QATAR - OCTOBER 14: Michael Conlan of Ireland (blue) fights 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)
DOHA, QATAR - OCTOBER 14: Michael Conlan of Ireland celebartes 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) *** BESTPIX ***

Sport Ireland said they will now "review" the outcome of recent negotiations.

Walsh, meanwhile, described it as "like a death in the family" walking away from a Programme he has been so central to since its inception under the direction of Gary Keegan in 2002.

"There's simple things like dignity and respect with your role," he said. "And they've been dismantled."

He flies to Memphis on Thursday.

Irish Independent

Irish Independent

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