Ryan Walsh says the weight of expectation is on Maxi Hughes, ahead of their showdown in Leeds tonight.
Hughes is on a run of five straight victories since defeat to his opponent’s brother, Liam Walsh in 2019, a defeat the challenger expected him to retire from.
“Never in a million years [did I think we’d fight],” Walsh told proboxing-fans.com at Thursday’s press conference.
“Especially after I’d seen Maxi in the car park [after the fight with Liam], I though that was the end of Maxi.
“Like I say I can only give him props for this run he’s been on, for the performances he’s put in.
“But this is a different feeling for Maxi now, because he’s now the champion, all the burden, all the pressure, everything’s on him.
“There’s no pressure on me only the pressure I put on myself and the only pressure I put on myself is my performance.
“As long as I perform to my best, I’m happy.”
Former British featherweight champion, Walsh has moved up two weight classes and bounced back from defeat to Jazza Dickens with victory over Ronnie Clark in December.
Hughes claimed the IBO title with an impressive points win over Jovanni Straffon in September and Walsh has urged his rival to trade with him.
“I don’t see Maxi coming out to fight me and if he does the crowd will be very entertained.
“I’m yet to have someone really stand with me for 12 rounds and fight me and I beckon that to him and to his fans to implore that.
“If he wants to come out and be tactical, hit, move, run and try and steal the fight, that’s what I expect.”
Watch the full interview with Ryan Walsh below: