Paddy Barnes feels Billy Walsh's exit won't affect Irish Olympic hopes 5 years ago

Paddy Barnes feels Billy Walsh's exit won't affect Irish Olympic hopes

Paddy Barnes is one of the most honest sportspeople around.

Ask him a straight question and you'll get an arrow straight answer to any topic you want to throw at the two-time Olympic medalist.

The Belfast man is less than 12 months out from his next Olympic assault in Rio, but Irish boxing's plans for the biggest sporting event on the planet look to have been thrown into chaos with the news that well-respected coach Billy Walsh has left the national set-up.

The Wexford native is set to join the USA's women's boxing team, but speaking to SportsJOE at the announcement of Electric Ireland as a sponsor Team Ireland for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Barnes feels that Walsh will not be missed as much as some may like to think.

What is your initial reaction to the news about Billy Walsh quitting Irish boxing? 

Me or any of the other boxers didn't really know what was going on behind the scenes in relation to Billy's contract issues and we don't really know the reason why he's left.

Had you spoken to him recently?

I was talking to him but I didn't get too much detail because really it's his personal life and it's his job and I can't really blame anyone for wanting to better their life and get better money. If he's getting a better way of life then you can't really argue with that.

What effect will it have on the Irish boxers?

Advertisement

Rio is only around the corner and Billy probably had training programs in place and camps and other things planned out and that's all up in the air now so we're not sure where we stand so close to Rio.

Baku 2015 European Games, Crystal Hall, Baku, Azerbaijan 20/6/2015 Men's Super Heavy 91Kg Ireland boxing coach Billy Walsh Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Will it affect our Olympic hopes?

No, the boxers who are going and those who will be qualifying are all world class. Mickey Mouse could be in our corner and we're still going to go for gold. In a way, it might affect us if new people don't plan right and sort out the right camps so the next few months will be interesting.

Has his impact been overstated?

Yeah, 100 per cent. He doesn't train Katie [Taylor], he doesn't train me, it's not his coaching that is world class, it's his managing and developing the systems. I think one of the reasons he might have left is because he wasn't upgraded to performance director which is something he wanted to be.

Is there someone who can take over straight away?

I don't think the IABA thought this was going to happen. Maybe they do (have someone lined up) and for the boxers sake I really hope they do.

Advertisement

Billy Walsh 23/6/2015

How long have you known Billy?

I've known Billy since 2006, but I probably knew him even before that a little bit. He's been a part of my life and a big part of my boxing life.

I used to hate him because he didn't pick me for the World Championships and I always had it in my head for years that even if he was nice to me that I hated him. But then we became friends and we got along with each other and we built up a good relationship.

What do you think the other boxers will feel about his departure?

I'm not sure because there are other coaches there that are good so that should still be the same but the other stuff, especially now it's so close to the Olympics, the programs and stuff, it's too soon to be messed about unless there is a plan B.

Double Olympic boxing medallist Paddy Barnes teamed up with Electric Ireland to announce its Smarter Living sponsorship of the Irish Olympic Team Double Olympic boxing medallist Paddy Barnes teamed up with Electric Ireland to announce its Smarter Living sponsorship of the Irish Olympic Team.