WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee was one of the first boxers to benefit from the High Performance Unit in Dublin, so the Limerick man is well-placed to give his thoughts on the ongoing Billy Walsh saga.
Rumours are abound that Wexford man Walsh will depart his role with the Irish team to take charge of the U.S. women’s team. This move is apparently due to a lack of control Walsh has over team selections in Ireland rather than monetary issues.
Speaking last night on Newstalk 106’s Off The Ball, Lee warned that “It’s vital we hold onto Zaur and Billy. They’re so valuable, won’t be long after they’re gone that these gold medals dry up.”
Lee was Ireland’s only representive at the 2004 Olympics and also won European bronze and EU silver during a successful amateur career, and was quick to give praise to Walsh and Zaur Antia, saying that “Billy Walsh is an incredible asset to have here. Him along with Zauri Anita, they’re the reason they’re keeping this conveyer belt of success and they’re developing the younger fighters all the way up to senior.”
The 31 year old also pointed to the stark contrast in performances between now and when he started out as an amateur as “we’re getting results now that we’ve never got in Ireland, as a small country of just over 4 million can have these results and compete against France and Russia and Germany, these blockbuster nations.
“We’re beating them and coming home with gold medals.”