Irish boxing coach avoids nightmare of having to plot downfall of nephew

Billy Walsh
Billy Walsh

FORMER Irish Head Boxing coach Billy Walsh has avoided the nightmare of having to plot the downfall of his nephew, Dean at the Olympic qualifier tournament in Baku.

The Wexford light welterweight has been drawn in the opposite half of the draw to his American rival Gary Russell, who is now coached by Billy Walsh.

The pair could clash in the latter stages of the tournament but by then the five Olympic slots available in the 64kg category will have been decided.

Walsh makes his debut in the tournament on Sunday when he meets Smetov Ismetov from Bulgaria in a last 64 contest.

Heavyweight Darren O’Neill will be the first Irish boxer in action in Baku on Saturday. He faces Mustafa El Molla from Sweden in the first round. O’Neill must win the gold medal in Baku to secure his place in Rio.

Likewise, super heavyweight Dean Gardiner has to win the tournament to make it to Rio.

He received a bye in the first round and steps into the ring on Sunday against either Kaho Raikadroka  from Tonga or Satish Kumar from India.

World bronze medallist Michael O’Reilly is the number one seed in the middleweight category. Needing a top five finish to secure his place on the team for Rio, the Portlaoise boxer meets the winner of a first round tie between Abdreas Kokknos (Cyprus) and Vitalia Dandarenka (Belarus) on Monday.