After almost 10 months absent recuperating from a hand injury, top grade Cromer super-feather Liam Walsh intends reminding the fight frat of his quality when he eases back into the fray with a mandatory defense of his British title this weekend, writes Glynn Evans. The unbeaten 29 year old – world rated at both 130 and 135lbs – swaps leather with Coventry banger Troy James on Saturday’s bill at the Copper Box, east London.
‘My mindset was on preparing for a world title final eliminator but this is actually a far better fight than it’s being given credit for,’ says the man they call ‘Destiny’ who has rubbed out 13 of his 19 victims inside distance.
‘Obviously I’m confident but Troy’s a decent opponent. In 21 fights, he’s only lost to (WBO world champion Terry) Flanagan in a full 10 rounder, plus he had a defeat in Prizefighter which means very little. I remember him as a young amateur and he’d won something like 12 with ten stoppages. He recently left (English title challenger) Chris Male out cold. He’s got my full attention.’
An all action switch-hitter, Liam’s return is further sweetened by an overdue opportunity to fight on the same card as twin brother Ryan for the first time since October 2010. The latter defends his British featherweight crown against Belfast banger James Tennyson.
‘I’m looking forward to us both being victorious and having good nights. It’d be a massive anti-climax for both of us, if one lost,’ states Liam who concedes there could be complications.
‘It appears I’ll be on after Ryan on Saturday cos obviously I’m miles better (laughs)! That means that, for once, I might not be able to assist him. But corner work is overrated anyway. It’s basically down to the fighter.’
The Brothers Walsh each have one successful defence on their ledgers already and, if they emerge triumphant at ‘The Box That Rocks’ –Ryan enters a marginal underdog with the bookies – expect an almighty scramble for family bragging rights.
‘Every British fighter wants to own a Lonsdale Belt outright,’ says Liam, the younger by a matter of minutes.
‘Because I’m miles better, I’ll dig my heels in next time and insist that I go on before Ryan just so I can say I beat him in the race to win it for keeps!
‘Seriously, I thought I was going to have to give my British title up to chase higher honours but, if I win on Saturday, I’ll be sooo close, it’d be criminal (to vacate). If something bigger is offered I’d be between a rock and a hard place.
‘Perhaps, I could return to the domestic scene later in my career if needed. For me, boxing isn’t a sport, it’s a life and I’ll continue doing it for as long as my body allows me.’
Given that his eight year pro innings has been blighted by injury and ill-fortune, lionheart Liam daren’t take his eyes off the prize against ‘Terrifying Troy’; a warhorse unbeaten in three and a half years and armed with heavy fists.
‘I’m up for this fight, don’t worry,’ says Walsh who, as usual, has been beasting himself beneath the Tenerife sun..
‘Honestly, this is the best I’ve ever made weight in my life, and that includes when I’ve fought up at lightweight. I’ve been much stricter with my diet. Not a single piece of artificial sugar has crossed my lips and yesterday (Sunday 24th), I was only 4 ½ lbs over. I’m usually that on the morning of a fight. Older and wiser!
He concludes: ‘If I was in Troy’s position, aged 32, getting my one and only chance, I’d probably train my b******s off and declare war, try to get me to fall short then bomb me out. We both know he won’t be able to outbox me but, regardless, I’ve got everything covered.
‘He’s good, but I’m better across the Board. I’ve dedicated my whole life to this.’
Singleton meets Anwar on May 7
Shayne Singleton will take on Adil Anwar in a classic war of the roses clash for the vacant WBC International Silver Welterweight title at the Manchester Arena on May 7, live on Sky Sports.
Singleton claims home turf for the battle, and it’s the second time the Lancastrian has fought for the strap having met Sam Eggington for it last March.
Former Prizefighter champion Anwar returned to winning ways with a first round stoppage win in March and is looking for a route back to a second crack at a British title.
Singleton and Anwar clash on the undercard of Anthony Crolla’s first defence of his WBA World Lightweight title against the dangerous Ismael Barroso, and they are joined by Hull’s Lightweight favourite Tommy Coyle making his return to action after injury, Hosea Burton defending his British Light-Heavyweight title and Manchester Light-Middleweight Marcus Morrison.