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Sunday 26 January 2020

Walsh pays tribute to Joshua

Anthony Joshua. Pic: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Anthony Joshua. Pic: Nick Potts/PA Wire

There are times when even World Coaches of the Year don't see what's coming down the tracks.

Billy Walsh recalls Gerry Hussey, the then IABA High-Performance psychologist, phoning him about Anthony Joshua (AJ), who reclaimed the WBA/WBO/IBF/IBO heavyweight titles after outclassing Andy Ruiz on Saturday night.

"AJ was taken from basketball when he was 18. I remember Cathal McMonagle sparring him in 2011 and I said to Hussey at the time he was a novice," said Walsh, the current USA boxing chief and 2016 AIBA World Coach of the

"Hussey rang me after London (2012 Olympics) and said, 'remember that novice you were on about... he's just won gold at the Games'."

Joshua's coach Rob McCracken, meanwhile, has close Irish connections as his family are from Fermanagh. In 1987, he won an intermediate Irish belt after beating Joe Lowe at Dublin's National Stadium.

Walsh, the then Irish Elite champion, was keeping a close eye on the up-and-coming prospects in his weight but McCracken, who has also worked with Joe Ward in the World Series of Boxing, never entered the Elites.

Pressure

"I'm delighted for AJ and Rob. AJ was under a lot of pressure against Ruiz, but he came through it and boxed exceptionally well to win back his titles," added Walsh, the former Irish head coach.

Meanwhile, Dennis Hogan's bid for the WBC middleweight title ended in defeat to defending champion Jermall 'Hit Man' Charlo in Brooklyn on Saturday.

The Kildare native was TKO'd in the seventh round by the unbeaten Texan at the Barclays Centre.

Hogan, who dropped to 28 wins from 32 outings after the defeat, admitted that he didn't see the punch that ended his ambitions coming.

"It came out of nowhere, I didn't even see it," admitted the Australia-based challenger (28-3-1) who moved up a division for the title tilt but was stopped for the first time in his career.

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