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USA Boxing Head Coach Billy Walsh is AIBA 2017 Coach of the Year
by Michael O'Neill
September 3, 2017

(SEPT 3)  Team USA Boxing ended the 2017 AIBA World championships at the Sporthalle in Hamburg with one Gold and two Silver medals plus the prestigious AIBA 2017 Coach of the Year award which went to Head Coach Billy Walsh.

Photo Credit:  AIBA

Wexford-man Walsh of course is also Head Coach of the women’s team which saw Claressa Shields take Gold in Rio in 2016 and that team too is now busy preparing for major International championships in 2018 as well as for the next USA Boxing domestic championships.

Though Shields has now joined the ranks of the Pros together with such as Tiara Brown, Mikaela Mayer and Marlen Esparza (to name but three), Walsh, Kay Koroma and the other U.S coaching staff are training up a new generation of U.S stars for the future and thus all in the United States will be hoping that the women’s team, can emulate their male counterparts when the next AIBA Women’s Worlds takes place in New Delhi, India in 2018.

Here is how ‘Team USA’ reported their success in Hamburg:

“Team USA finished the 2017 Men’s Elite World Championships with its best medal haul since 1999, including a decade best silver medal finish by bantamweight Duke Ragan (Cincinnati, Ohio) after an epic battle with Kazakhstan’s Kairat Yeraliyev on Saturday’s grand finale. The gold medal bout was one for the history books coming down to the wire between two of the world’s best with Ragan falling short to a heart-breaking 3-2 split decision. The U.S. ends the gruelling nine-day competition with one silver and two bronze.

“My first world championships experience went very well,” said Ragan. “I’m only 19-years-old and this is my first elite championship experience so I was impressed with how far I made it. In the finals, I was disappointed with the decision because I thought I won but I feel like I left it too close so I’m going to go back home, learn from the experience and work on what I need to work on.”

Ragan is the highest placing American boxer to medal in the elite men’s world championship bantamweight division since Ricardo Juarez took the title at the 1999 Houston edition. Ragan had a tough road to silver in the most recognised level of competition since the 2016 Rio Olympic Games where fellow bantamweight Shakur Stevenson also came away with a historic silver medal finish.

Head coach Billy Walsh (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and resident coach Kay Koroma (Alexandra, Va.) continued to make their mark on the international stage leading the U.S. team to another outstanding historical tournament performance. Walsh was awarded the 2017 AIBA Coach of the Year in front of packed house at the Sportshalle.

“I think it’s a fantastic achievement for USA Boxing, it’s a mark of respect for everybody within the program and the hard work to help these kids achieve what they achieved at these World Championships,” said Walsh. “I’m very honoured to accept this on behalf of the coaching staff, the national office staff in Colorado Springs and everybody associated with the team.”

Walsh had previously been Head Coach of the Irish team which won numerous medals at major International tournaments inc the AIBA Worlds. In 2013, Jason Quigley reached the middleweight decider in Kazakhstan and won silver. Two years later, Michael Conlan and Ward made the bantam and light-heavy finals in Qatar, with Conlan creating history becoming the first Irish make boxer to win gold at this level.

Ward, the Irish captain in Hamburg, lost out on the Persian Gulf to La Cruz and took home silver in 2015. Again in 2017, Ireland now under the control of HPU Director and former World Pro champion Bernard Dunne and with Zaur Antia as Head Coach arrived back in Dublin Sunday afternoon with Joe Ward again proudly displaying the Silver medal he had won in Hamburg again at the hands of one of the World’s greatest ever amateurs, Julio Cesar La Cruz of Cuba.

AIBA 2017 Coach of the Year award Citation:

“BEST COACH: Billy Walsh (USA)

Heading to Hamburg, USA Boxing had managed just one bronze medal in the previous three AIBA World Championships. After Doha 2015, the man who had built Irish boxing back up to be a global force once more, Billy Walsh, was drafted in to take US boxing back to where it belonged. After a successful Rio 2016, a new-look team arrived in Germany composed and hungry for medals. A silver medal for Duke Ragan (56kg) and bronzes for Freudis Rojas (64kg) and Troy Isley (75kg) showed the future is bright in Colorado”

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