It has now been confirmed that the Irish Amateur Boxing Association Boxing Council will meet on Saturday August 20 to ratify the Irish squad for the upcoming AIBA World Men’s Championships and Olympic qualifiers in Azerbaijan. They will take into account not only the outcome of the recent controversial box-offs but also consider the advice given re who should be selected by High Performance Unit Chief, Billy Walsh.
The AIBA World Championships, which will also act as the first major qualifier for male boxers for the 2012 Olympics, get under way in Baku, Azerbaijan on September 26.
A 15-strong Elite Irish squad will leave, on Friday morning for an eight-day training camp with hosts Italy, Ukraine and Azerbaijan in Assisi .
World, European and European Union lightweight champion Katie Taylor has also been included in the squad, to assist with her preparations for her forthcoming “five in a row” attempt at the Women’s Europeans in Rotterdam in mid-October.
Unusually ,considering the extra expense, the IABA has chosen to “double up” at several weights a situation which could well lead to ‘morale’ problems for High Performance Unit Chief, Walsh and his coaching staff as when the team is announced – almost certainly during the Assisi training camp – at least four of the male boxers present will be ‘surplus to requirements’ and not heading for Baku.
From the perspective of the Irish boxing fans, let us sincerely hope that the selections proposed by the High Performance unit mirror those that the IABA Council choose on Saturday. Taking into account recent comments from the IABA even Joe Ward and Ray Moylette ,our current European Champions , are not guaranteed a place on the flight Baku, albeit they would most assuredly be seeded. No guaranteed place either for John Joe Nevin it seems.
Neither is Darren O’Neill a ‘certainty’ though he has not been beaten by an Irish boxer in the past three years. Looking at the Assisi squad the only boxers who can appear to be “reasonably confident ” of a place are:
Paddy Barnes, Michael Conlon, David Oliver Joyce, Kenny Egan and Con Sheehan .
A busy weekend ahead then for the IABA in Dublin and the High Performance Unit in Assisi.
Irish squad – Assisi, Italy training camp – August 19th- 27th.
49Kg: Paddy Barnes (Holy Family)
52Kg: Michael Conlon (St John Bosco)
56Kg: John Joe Nevin (Cavan), Tyrone McCullagh (Holy Family)
60Kg: David Oliver Joyce (St Michael’s Athy)
64Kg: Ray Moylette (St Anne’s), Ross Hickey (Grangecon)
69Kg: Roy Sheehan (St Michael’s Athy), Willie McLaughlin (Illies GG)
75Kg: Darren O’Neill (Paulstown), Jason Quigley (Finn Valley)
81Kg: Joe Ward (Moate)
91Kg: Ken Egan (Neilstown)
91+Kg:Con Sheehan (Clonmel)
60Kg: Katie Taylor (Bray)
Coaches: Billy Walsh, Zuar Antia, Jimmy Halpin, Peter Taylor