Former Irish boxing head coach Billy Walsh said the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) board needed a “good decluttering” to secure the future of the sport.
r Walsh left the Irish coaching scene for his current role in US boxing after disagreements over what powers the IABA gave him.
His recent comments follow the resignation of Irish Boxing High Performance Unit director Bernard Dunne.
Mr Dunne resigned from his position last week after filing a complaint with IABA about an unsigned SWOT analysis criticizing his performance and circulated just ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
This week, Sport Minister Jack Chambers said Irish boxing will suffer “immediate and serious financial consequences” if it fails to implement the independent report’s recommendations.
Minister Chambers said IABA must “fully embrace and embrace” the report’s recommendations if it is to avoid fines.
Speaking of RTÉ Tomorrow Ireland Scheme, Billy Walsh said Irish boxing risks “losing talent” if reforms are not implemented urgently.
“I think with radical financial sanctions that will happen. It’s about time sport moved into the 21st century and stopped losing leaders and people who are great at their jobs,” he said.
“Since 2003, when Gary Keegan put it up, we’ve won nine Olympic medals with this high-performance unit, which has been phenomenal at that time, and we’re going to lose all of that and all of the talent and all of that success if we don’t reform.”
Minister Chambers has given IABA three months to implement reforms and Mr Walsh said the association must comply or risk collapse.
He said there are members of IABA who have overseen the resignation of three sporting directors and “it is time for a thorough decluttering” and the appointment of a new board.
Mr Walsh said he left Irish boxing over issues with “control and power”.
“All I wanted was the autonomy to do my job and that was a big part of it, and to be able to choose your own destiny, choose your own team to work with and the Stop interfering with the program, team selection and all that,” he said.
“They gave me a contract in which it was impossible to work. So many restrictions.”
Mr Walsh said many long-time volunteers have done a lot of good work but certain “archaic” attitudes are holding Irish boxing back.
“You have a professional unit working in an amateur organization and people living in the past and ‘this is how we’ve always done it and this is how we should do it’, they’re no match for today’s governance practices and I think , so the high-performance unit was put together because Irish boxing was lagging behind,” he said.
Mr Walsh added that he does not think Bernard Dunne will return to the Irish boxing setup as long as the same IABA directors are in place.