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Andy Lee's reaction to Irish boxing's European Games gains

Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

18:24 1 Jul 2019

It's fair to say the European Games were very encouraging from an Irish boxing point of view.

Team Ireland came away with a host of medals in Minsk. Kurt Walker was the headline act with gold in the bantamweight division.

Meanwhile, Kellie Harrington and Micheala Walsh all brought home silvers. Bronze medals also went to Regan Buckley, Michael Nevin and Grainne Walsh, leaving Ireland fifth overall in the medal's table.

With the 2020 Olympic Games a year away, it's a good showing from Ireland and Andy Lee feels it's not something to play down.

"Boxing is the one sport within the games that is really strong," he emphasised.

Strength in depth

"All the countries would send their No 1 teams and to come back with those medals and a gold for Kurt Walker is a fantastic result.

"And it does show the strength in depth within the team, that they have this system and it's working. It just takes time. Sometimes it's not always going to work but I guess they've just backed themselves.

"With someone like Kurt Walker who's been around the team for a while now, with other people turning pro or falling out of the team, I guess some of the attention has been shifted to him. They're bearing the fruits of that now because he's shown that he's world class."

Andy praise the coaching team including Zaur Antia for the work he's done with Walker.

"The attention that he's given Kurt has produced a gold medal and who knows what he can do in the Olympics," he said.

"He'll have to move up a couple of kilos for the Olympics, up to 57 kilos. But he's still got a year to do that. I'm sure that will be his goal."

Andy also touched on the issue of governance globally after the controversy of Rio 2016.

"In terms of the governance of the sport, it's in a complete mess. The IOC recently upheld a suspension given to AIBA who are the governing body of boxing - that AIBA will no longer be involved in Olympic boxing," he said.

"So it is a bit up in the air in terms of how these men and women are going to qualify for Tokyo."

You can watch Andy's full chat on Irish boxing's European Games and more on the video player above. He also paid tribute to Kevin Sheehy who passed away following a hit-and-run incident in Limerick.

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