Boxing doping scandal is 'soul destroying' says Billy Walsh
USA Olympic boxing coach Billy Walsh has described the doping scandal involving Michael O'Reilly as 'soul destroying' and a huge blow to Irish boxing.
O'Reilly is understood to have lodged an official appeal against his failed test last week, but there are conflicting reports as to whether or not the Portlaoise middleweight will ask for his B sample to be tested.
Speaking to this newspaper from the American Olympic training camp, Walsh said: 'I feel very, very sad for the Irish team. I was with them at the draw when I heard that one of the guys had been allegedly caught. I spoke with the coaches and they are all devastated.'
Walsh said he is very close with all of the boxers and the trainers and was hoping to see his dream of the Irish team claiming first place by winning several medals, come to fruition and still does.
Walsh said: 'Boxing is a totally clean sport. We have never had any history of this and this one guy steps outside of the pale.
'The Irish boxing team that you are seeing now is the greatest Irish team to ever go to an Olympics. You have three returning Olympic medallists and the other two are in the top two in the world. They don't want to be marred with doping. They are all clean. I spent the best part of 12 years with them since they were kids and we educated them about what is right and wrong. For them to be tarnished with this after all their work ethic is soul destroying.'
• BILLY WALSH INTERVIEW: PAGES 18 & 19
• WEXFORD MAN'S RIO ROLE WITH
LEADING ATHLETES: PAGE 77