Bernard Dunne wants to get Ireland back to top of the boxing world after High Performance appointment

New IABA High Performance director Bernard Dunne with, from left, Darren O'Neill, Christina Desmond, Brendan Irvine and Joe Ward. Picture by INPHO
Neil Loughran at the National Sports Campus

BERNARD Dunne has set his sights on bringing Ireland back to boxing’s top table after his appointment as the Irish Athletic Boxing Association’s new High Performance director today.

The Dubliner got the nod for the post ahead of former Ireland rugby coach Eddie O’Sullivan and a host of other leading candidates. He will officially begin work on May 8.

Former European and World super-bantamweight champion Dunne, who confirmed he is no longer part of the Dublin footballer’s backroom team, comes with considerable pedigree between the ropes.

However, he has a huge job on his hands to help restore Irish boxing to its former glories following the disappointment of last summer’s Rio Olympics.

Dunne will work alongside head coach Zaur Antia, with the aim to make Ireland one of the top three countries in terms of the numbers of boxers competing at Tokyo 2020, as well as the ultimate goal of being the best boxing nation in the world.

He said: "My vision is to take the very best in the current system and match it with the very latest in high performance training so that our men and women can perform and win at European, World and Olympic level. 

"Their attitude, commitment and work ethics are equally as important as their talents. So, I will be working with the boxers and the coaches to get the very best from their training regimes, diets, as well as their physical, mental and all round development."

IABA chief executive Fergal Carruth claimed Dunne’s work with Jim Gavin’s Dublin team for the past four-and-a-half years was crucial to him getting the job, and believes the association have got the best man for the job.

“The Rio Olympic Games were both difficult and disappointing for boxing but we are delighted that with this appointment, together with the announcement of the move to the Sport Ireland Institute of our High Performance unit, that we have addressed three of the key recommendations detailed in the review conducted after the Rio Games,” said Carruth.

“We are confident that Bernard and the rest of the High Performance team are now well placed to maximise the conveyor belt of talent that exists in Irish boxing, evidenced by the continued success of our youth boxers in international competition.”

Sport Ireland chairman Kieran Mulvey agreed that Dunne’s appointment of Dunne was in line with the recommendations outlined in the review of Ireland's Rio 2016 performance.

"On behalf of Sport Ireland I would like to congratulate Bernard on his appointment. Bernard brings with him a wealth of experience in both the amateur and professional environment, and is the ideal candidate to lead Ireland’s boxing programme as we enter the Tokyo 2020 cycle," he said.

"The appointment of Bernard as high performance director satisfies one of the key recommendations in Sport Ireland’s Rio Review which was published earlier this month and signifies a new start for amateur boxing in Ireland. Boxing has traditionally been one of Ireland’s most successful sports and we look forward to even more success under Bernard’s leadership long into the future."

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