Dean gets the call
Published 18/06/2016 | 00:00
There was welcome news for Wexford town boxer Dean Walsh after a lot of speculation when he was selected on the Ireland squad for the last chance qualifier which will get under way in Baku on Thursday.
It means that securing a place at the Olympics in Rio is still in his own hands, with head coach Zaur Antia giving him the nod at the end of a training camp which also featured his arch-rival from Mayo, Ray Moylette.
There has been plenty of talk outside the ring in recent weeks regarding the methods to be used for the selection process, with a box-off between Walsh and Moylette originally mooted but then postponed at the last minute.
And now it's up to the St. Ibar's/St. Joseph's clubman to make the most of this last opportunity to make the grade.
Interestingly, Dean's uncle, Billy, will also be in Baku with the American men's team after his involvement with that particular group was fast-tracked.
He was appointed to take charge of the USA women's squad after his controversial departure from the IABA High Performance Unit in late 2015.
It was outlined at the time that he would extend his involvement to the men at some stage, but it was generally felt that this wouldn't happen until after Rio.
However, the timetable has been advanced, with Walsh listed first among four coaches submitted by USA Boxing on the accreditation list for Baku.
Two females - Mikaela Mayer and defending middleweight champion Claressa Shields - have already qualified for the Olympics along with four American men - Nico Hernandez, Shakur Stevenson, Carlos Balderas and Charles Conwell.
Walsh will now be aiming to steer six more towards the Olympics, giving Wexford fight fans an added interest in proceedings in Baku.