Zaur Antia commits his future to Irish boxing until 2021

He has been with the Irish High Performance Team since 2003

Zaur Antia

Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne 

Irish boxing coach Zaur Antia will continue in his position with the Irish Atheltic Boxing Association until 2021, the IABA today confirmed.

Antia, who led Ireland into the summer's Olympic Games in Rio, will continue his work with the High Performance Team for the next five years and past the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

"The Irish Amateur Boxing Association can confirm that Zaur Anita has committed his future to Irish boxing until 2021 despite offers to coach from the national boxing associations of Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia and Canada," they said today in a statement.

"Zaur will serve as head coach having first joined the Irish High Performance Team in 2003. Originally, Zaur's focus was on the men's team but over the last 18 months he has also had increasing involvement with the women's high performance system."

Antia said: "I am delighted on both a personal and professional basis to commit to Irish boxing. Ireland has been home for my family and I for the last 13 years and I am delighted that we are in a position to stay. I am also very excited about remaining part of the Irish High Performance system.

"We are, as is normal after any Olympic Games, in a period of transition but there remains a significant amount of talent and potential in the system as evidenced by the medals won by our team at the world youth championships in Russia last week and I am confident that with the right support and investment we can deliver future success.

"I am also looking forward to becoming more involved with the women’s programme and feel that the medals we won at the recent World and European Championships is evidence of the strides made in women’s boxing here."

Zaur Antia giving instruction to Joe Ward. Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne 

IABA CEO, Fergal Carruth said: "I am thrilled that we have managed to fight off some tough competition from other countries to retain the coaching expertise of Zauri within the Irish High Performance programme.

"He has been an integral part of all the success achieved by Irish boxing since his arrival in 2003. His decision to stay is a vote of confidence in the future of Irish boxing and in the significant talent within the system across our men’s and women’s’ programmes."

Ireland's boxers struggled this year in the Olympic Games. Katie Taylor lost twice this year, the latter a decision loss which saw her concede her Olympic title. The result prompted her to turn professional and is now represented by Matchroom Boxing and Eddie Hearn.

World champion Michael Conlan was also beaten in controversial circumstances by Russian Vladimir Nikitin and he too turned professional. He makes his pro debut on St Patrick's Day in Madison Square Garden.