Video: Underdog tag suits Liam Walsh for first shot at world title
Liam Walsh says he is happy being the underdog ahead of his world title showdown with Ricky Burns – but baulks at the suggestion that he is a no-hoper.
The Cromer fighter goes up against title-holder Burns for the WBO crown on December 15, taking a 13-0 record into the ring with him and the label of the country’s top young talents.
But when the bookies open the odds, Burns (35-2) will be the raging favourite. Walsh is comfortable with that, but bristles when his reputation is impugned.
“I have heard a lot of people saying it is a mismatch – give it a break, you know,” said Walsh.
“I have never come and turned up and been beaten up and said, ‘oh no, I’ve been beat up’. No chance, it’s not happening. It’s never happened in sparring, it’s never happened in a fight and it isn’t going to happen on December 15 either.”
Walsh points to two fights which prove his case: Burns against Andreas Evenson – and his own thrilling victory over Paul Appleby last autumn.
He said: “Evenson had won 13, lost one, so who is more worthy, him or me? I’ve had 13 and won 13. Surely I am more worthy. But that didn’t get him slaughtered.
“Appleby was one fight from fighting Burns and people were saying, ‘this is going to be a good fight this’, I will prove what I’m about on December 15 and people might be a bit shocked – I think they will be.”
Walsh believes the biggest fight of his career will bring the best out of him.
“I haven’t had the best dragged out of me yet,” said the 26-year-old.
“It is still yet to come. I am saving it all for this night. There is definitely more – I am nowhere near as good as I want to be and what I will be, as long as I keep working hard and, like I say, there is still a lot more to come.
“I think Ricky will bring the best out of me and I will bring the best out of Ricky as well because I am fit, I am strong and there is no way I am ever going to give in, there is no way he is ever going to give in – we are both physically and mentally really fit, so it is going to be a lot better fight than people expect.
“But poor him really, because he can’t really win – if he wins in style he should have done; if he doesn’t win in style it’s not good enough, so I wouldn’t like to be fighting me in his position because he has got it all to lose for my money and I have got it all to gain.”