Saturday, July 26, 2014
Cromer’s Liam Walsh says he needs to catch the eye when he returns to action in Manchester this weekend.
Walsh faces Kevin Hooper in a non-title fight on the undercard of the Tyson Fury-Alexander Ustinov heavyweight clash.
“It is a big show and I need to impress,” said Walsh. “The performance needs to be good, I need to look good.”
Whilst Hooper is uppermost in his mind, a 16th win a row to maintain his 100pc record would leave him pondering plenty of post-fight questions.
Walsh was due to have faced Gary Sykes for the British super-featherweight title - that looks like being some time in the autumn now - but also has to decide whether or not to go up to the lightweight ranks as he searches for success on a domestic and world stage.
“It is a big time for me,” said Walsh. “They say twins are late developers. I am 28 and I am a late developer. I think I have gained a lot of experience in the last year or two and I feel that now is the time. Hopefully I will stay injury-free so I can give it everything I have got. I can’t see me stopping boxing for 10 years. I have never drank or smoked - 28 is just a number, I run five miles quicker than ever, I spar more rounds, I punch harder, I am stronger.
“I want to put on a show - I need to. You have to get yourself noticed by winning and entertaining.”
Walsh has been up close and personal before with Hooper: the Grimsby man spent a couple of days sparring with his weekend opponent in Norwich last year. Hooper has lost just twice in 17 outings - to Sykes and Jon Kays, who Walsh beat in March 2011.
“We had two days sparring,” said Walsh. “We have the DVDs and there wasn’t much in it, to be honest. Me and (brothers) Ryan and Michael were at ringside when he fought Sykes. It was about four weeks before I fought Scott Harrison and we were under the impression I would be fighting the winner.
“Hooper was well in it to the seventh or eighth and then Sykes came on strong, as he does, but I thought he was more in the fight to the end.”
Walsh is expecting to be several pounds smaller than Hooper when they step into the ring in Manchester.
“He is tall and big at the weight and on the night he is probably going to be 10lbs more than me,” he said. “As it is a non-title fight there is a two-pound leeway at the weigh-in so we can go to 9st 11lb, not 9st 9lb. That doesn’t benefit me because I can still do 9st 4lb but I don’t think Kevin can. If I fight the wrong fight the weight might tell. I have to get it right and box well.
“Because of the weight he may come out at me straight from the start because he is a bigger man. It will be entertaining - as everyone knows I don’t hide away.”
Walsh has had just seven days off - forced on him by a cut sustained in the gym - since his last fight, last September, and has taken time out of the family circle in the build-up to the fight by staying at the Oaklands Hotel in Thorpe St Andrew, courtesy of the owner, Marcus Pearcey
“The staff here have been top class,” he said. “I can’t thank them enough. It’s been a different way of preparing for a fight, so hopefully it will pay off on Saturday.”
Walsh is on the undercard of the Tyson Fury- Alexander Ustinov fight at Manchester’s Phones 4U Arena. Call 07920 114698 for tickets.