Bernard Dunne believes the Irish boxing team is more equipped to win Olympic medals that any other time history, but warned even the world’s greatest female fighter Katie Taylor isn’t guaranteed a podium spot.
The former WBA Super bantamweight champion of the world claims the Irish team and amateur Irish boxing have never been stronger and he is confident the nation will reap the benefits come London 2012.
However despite sharing his excitement about Ireland’s Olympic prospects, the former world and European champ warned against complacency and tried to decrease public expectancy, especially in the case of Katie Taylor.
Chairman of the 2012 Organising Committee Sebastian Coe has backed Taylor to be the ‘star’ of the upcoming games and her domination female boxing for the last five years has everyone predicting gold for the talented Bray woman.
Taylor herself is keen to stress she has yet to qualify and expects tough challenges in London and Dunne did his bit to ease the pressure.
“We have at this moment in time the best amateur boxing team we ever had at all levels and all age groups. It is incredible to think going forward to the London 2012 the possibilities that could happen. We have a good chance of collecting medals, but medals are not easy to win,” Dunne said on RTE over the New Year before commenting on the furore surrounding five time European champion Taylor.
“Katie is world class, but people have to realise nothing Is guaranteed in life and Katie knows that herself. She will have to work hard every day. People think she can win it by just turning up but that’s not the case. There will lots of talented fighters at the games.”
Only three Irish fighters Michael Conlan, John Joe Nevin and Darren O’Neill have secured their place on the plane to London, but the Neilstown native and former St Matthews Amateur believes a number of amateurs will follow suit and secure their spots via the final qualifiers in Turkey this April.
“With the top guys gone because they have qualified at the worlds championships, these next qualifiers will be less hard. You would expect a big return from the Irish team.”