Self-belief puts opponents on the ropes
Walsh and his colleagues actually recorded the sounds and got the boxers to download it to their iPods to help them acclimatise.
Outside the Olympics, Walsh’s approach has earned 60-odd world level medals for Irish amateur boxing since he took over. The sport is more or less innate to him. He began his own career in the Christian Brothers’ School in Wexford town, where the gym is in the middle of the yard. He developed an interest in all sports and played football for Sarsfields and hurling for Faythe Harriers.
In his boxing career, he represented Ireland at World and European championship level and at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul in South Korea. He won seven national titles during his time in the ring.
Always an amateur, he pursued his boxing career while working for Pierce Engineering in Wexford, one of the town’s biggest employers, before running his own business as a milk agent, which he sold to his brother before taking on his current role.
At the moment, he’s very focused on the future, which, more or less immediately, involves the Elite Tammer Multi-Nations competition in Tampere, Finland, and the World Youth Championships in Yerevan, Armenia.
Beyond that, he’s talking about 2016 and Rio, where he says the challenge facing Irish boxers will be completely different from London.
Qualification is going to be spectacularly hard, with 40 nations fighting for eight places in most divisions. “They will be going hammer and tongs to get there,” he warns.
If Irish boxers get through, they will be competing in a very different atmosphere in terms of support.
“London was a home venue for us. We’re not going to get that many Irish out there,” says Walsh.
Given that he is talking about the future, does this mean he will be staying with Irish boxing?
It was no secret that, during the Olympics, other federations had approached Walsh, Anita and Taylor, and he himself was not happy with the fact that their employer, the Irish Amateur Boxing Association, had not offered them secure long-term contracts.
They have been in talks since with the association chairman, John Lynch, and chief executive, Don Stewart. “Everything has been very positive,” says Walsh.
Assuming he stays, what else does he want to achieve? “We’re now ranked fifth in the world, I’d like to be number one.”
Job:Head coach, Irish Amateur Boxing Association
Why is he in the news?He led the management of the boxing squad that brought home four of Ireland’s five medals, including Katie Taylor’s historic gold, from London 2012, our most successful Olympics to date. Interests: Golf, hurling, football and sport of all kinds.
Something you might expect:He began his own boxing career at seven years of age.
Something that might surprise:He’s a qualified fitter welder.