OLYMPIC BOXING: Michael Conlan defends coach before Rio quarter-final clash

Michael Conlan
Michael Conlan

Michael Conlan wants an end to all the media hysteria which has identified the departure of former head coach Billy Walsh as the reason behind Ireland’s losses at the Rio Olympics.

Walsh linked up with Team USA last year and - following a string of defeats for Irish boxers in Rio - much talk has centred around the absence of the Wexford coach.

But before he faced Vladimir Nikitin of Russia in the quarter-finals on Tuesday night Conlan said: “One thing I want to address is all you guys, every single media person here, keep going on about Billy Walsh.

“It is getting annoying for boxing because Zaur Antia has always been the main man and always will be the main man.

“I’m looking forward to him bringing me to the Olympic gold medal and my father being in my corner.

“He has always been the main man and always will be as head coach. I am looking to stay on track for a gold medal against Nikitin.”

And Katie Taylor’s gold medal dream came to an end yesterday as she lost to Finland’s Mira Potkonen.

The Irish fighter lost on a split decision after a 39-37, 38-38, 37-39 score line.