As Irish boxing ponders what it will do without managing director Fergal Carruth and chairman Ciarán Kirwan, who have both announced their resignations from the organization, the sport should be delighted to know that the former manager of High profile, Bernard Dunne, is reported to be close to signing a deal with Indian boxing.
Showing once again how adept Ireland has become at exporting its talent to rival nations, Irish boxing fans may recall that Dunne resigned in May this year as manager of high performance from the Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) after failing to resolve a dispute with his employers.
The former professional world champion filed a written complaint with the IABA in November last year, alleging that his position had been undermined by an unsigned “SWOT analysis position paper”, which was allegedly written after an investigation was carried out into Irish boxing.
He considered the document very damaging to his position and believed that the intention of the letter – for which he had not been consulted – was to discredit him both personally and professionally.
The document drew prejudicial and totally unfounded conclusions. John Treacy, then chief executive of Sport Ireland, described it as having no merit, a conclusion Indian boxing would likely agree with.
Reporting in the New Indian Express, Anmol Gurung explains that the former WBA super bantamweight champion is the favorite to take the high performance director position after Swedish predecessor Santiago Nieva switched to Australian boxing.
“We learn that he is [Dunne] about to finalize an agreement with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the Boxing Federation of India (BFI). Like Nieva, Dunne, 42, is a young face and will be looking to pick up where the first left off and help India’s pugilists get all the tools they need to succeed at the Paris Olympics in 2024,” Gurung writes.
“If things go as planned, Dunne could join as early as early next month. That could be ideal for India’s boxers, who put on a creditable show at the recent Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
“The Indians finished second to Northern Ireland in the overall standings with seven medals (three gold, one silver and three bronze). Next year will be crucial for the Parisian aspirants since the Olympic qualifiers will take place. This is one of the reasons that the federation and the SAI are keen to bring Dunne.
Much like former Ireland coach Billy Walsh felt he had no choice but to quit Irish boxing after the 2012 London Olympics, claiming similar issues to those faced by Dunne, Ireland can now claim to have Irish coaches in top positions in second and second amateur boxing. third most populous country in the world.
In late 2016, after Ireland was bombed in the 2016 Olympics, Walsh was named World Coach of the Year by the International Boxing Association (Aiba). The Wexford native guided the United States to three medals in Rio.
With Walsh in the US corner, Nico Hernandez earned the first US men’s boxing medal (bronze) since 2008, while overseeing a gold for Claressa Shields and a silver for Shakur Stevenson. The United States, under Walsh, won four medals at the Tokyo Olympics last summer.
It was Walsh in the Irish corner in London when the country enjoyed its most successful Olympics in boxing with four medals, including a lightweight gold from Katie Taylor and John Joe Nevin reaching the Olympic final. Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes also finished with bronze medals
It was Walsh in the corner of Ireland at the World Championships in Doha shortly before he left for the United States, when Conlan became Ireland’s first and only men’s amateur world champion. Joe Ward and Michael O’Reilly also won medals.
It was Dunne who oversaw the Irish squad in Tokyo last summer, where Kellie Harrington won lightweight gold, the same Taylor won in 2012 and welterweight Aidan Walsh won a medal bronze, while this year was also extraordinarily successful.
Two Irish women became world champions, which was another first. In one of the greatest 30 minutes in Irish women’s sport, Amy Broadhurst and Lisa O’Rourke, who Dunne had in her pre-Tokyo training camps, took possession on the first night of the finals at the Sinan Erdem Dome in Istanbul and have gone down in history.
The two, Broadhurst at 25 and O’Rourke, who turned 20 just days before his final and boxing in his first major championship, won unanimous and split decisions respectively to become world champions for the first time in their careers, while getting richer by $100,000.
In May, Gabriel Dossen of Galway won the gold medal at the Men’s European Championships in Yerevan, Armenia, after beating England’s Lewis Richardson in their 75kg final.
The 22-year-old, representing his country for the first time as a senior at a major international tournament, earned a unanimous decision in the middleweight showpiece. Bangor’s Dylan Eagleson also made the European final to take silver.
There are good trainers in Irish boxing with Zaur Antia highly regarded around the world. But the loss of intellectual capital from Walsh and now Dunne has been an Irish sporting disgrace.
Two leaders, who did not want to leave, will now coach against the Irish team at the Paris Olympics. Quite the unwanted legacy.