Search icon


23rd Oct 2015

IABA chairman: “Billy Walsh looked me in the eye and offered his hand”

Fighting talk

Patrick McCarry

The Irish Amateur Boxing Association has hit out at “scurrilous claims” it believes has been made over the departure of Billy Walsh to the United States’ Olympic boxing team.

There has been a stream of accusations and recriminations – most of them squared at the IABA – since Walsh opted to take up a job offer from the U.S Olympic Committee to coach their boxers in Colorado Springs.

It was reported, earlier this morning, that Walsh had been offered a basic pay offer of €95,000 per year, in August, only for the IABA to go back on that agreement.

However, Joe Christle, chairman of the IABA, says everyone at the association is completely mystified as to why Walsh is heading across the Atlantic Ocean.

Christle says there were ‘an awful lot of meetings’ between IABA and Walsh before an agreement was reached in late August. Christle says the agreement was discussed at board level but he did not bring it to a vote as he knew it would be rejected.

Minister of Sport Michael Ring then brought both parties down to a September 11 meeting, which dealt with three main concerns – financial terms, Walsh’s approval and the approval of the IABA.

Christle says Walsh was seeking his own bonus remunerations but that it was decided to pool all bonuses that would then be split between coaches and boxers, depending on what markers they hit at events.

The IABA chairman then believed Walsh would stay after the final wrinkles were ironed out. He told Pat Kenny, on Newstalk:

“[Billy] looked me in the eye and offered his hand.” 

Christle says he then rang John Treacy [Irish Sports Council] and Minister Ring to tell them ‘you can get up off your knees [and] that it was over’.

However, there proved to be a further stumbling block over Walsh’s role within the High Performance Unit.

Walsh, said Christle, sid not outline his ‘non-financial matters’ and did not know if he was the head coach and leader of the team.