John Joe Nevin absence weakens Irish World Championship hopes

John Joe Nevin was beaten by Britain's Luke Campbell in the Olympic bantamweight final in London

Olympics silver medallist John Joe Nevin's absence from Ireland's squad for next month's World Championships has left the country without a bantamweight in Kazakhstan.

The Irish Amateur Boxing Association attempted to replace Nevin with Monaghan man Gary McKenna but the deadline for entries had elapsed.

Nevin is expected to turn professional in the coming weeks.

Mullingar man Nevin won this year's European title in Belarus.

He took bronze at the last World Championships in 2011 which was Ireland's only medal in Azerbaijan.

Nevin was on the original list of 10 names lodged by the Irish Amateur Boxing Association for next month's championships with world governing body AIBA.

The bantamweight announced that he was signing for Amir Khan's professional stable after last year's Olympics only to reverse that decision a number of weeks later.

However, he now does appear likely to make the move to the professional ranks and his departure is a blow to the Irish squad ahead of the 11-27 October championships.

"John Joe will obviously be difficult to replace," admitted Ireland's head coach Billy Walsh.

"He's ranked number one in the world and would have been seeded at number one in Kazakhstan.

"But our focus is on the World Championships. John Joe is not going and the rest of the squad are, and they are our focus now."

The Ireland squad is headed by two London 2012 bronze medallists, light-flyweight Paddy Barnes and flyweight Michael Conlan.