Liam Walsh: The wait is finally over for Cromer fighter
PUBLISHED: 11:30 10 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:30 10 May 2019
Liam Walsh returns to the boxing ring on Saturday night - and admits it is a day he thought might never happen.
The 32-year-old from Cromer hasn't stepped between the ropes since suffering the only blemish on his CV, a world title challenge defeat at the hands of Gervonta Davis in May 2017.
Boxing politics and personal integrity have stalled his return, but he graces the Brentwood Leisure Centre with hardly a break in his preparation for a call to arms.
"It nearly happened a few times where I was going to say, 'that's it' and pull the plug on it," said Walsh. "But I am glad I didn't now. I am much happier, I feel much better about myself and can't wait to fight, can't wait to trade punches with someone."
Walsh has never strayed far from trainer Graham Everett's gym so fitness levels were always high, but he admits there is nothing like the real thing.
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"The actual fighting, in the ring with the little gloves on, bare-chested, blood and guts - you can't beat it," he added. "I have been doing this since I was seven years old - I love fighting."
Walsh has stressed all along to new management company MTK Global he doesn't want to turn the clock back a decade when it comes to opponents - although the promotion has already seen pull-outs.
"The game is getting harder and harder, especially the matching," said promoter Lee Eaton. "Pull out 10 days ago for Liam Walsh against a 19-5 African champ and it's been absolute hell to find anybody else."
Walsh is fully aware of the difficulties.
"There have been some opponents who have been thrown at us who are really lively and looked good, but they have struggled to match me which I understand because people are going to want half stupid money to fight an ex-world title challenger and the logistics of fighting at Brentwood don't work to pay someone," he said.
The main issue for Walsh is arguably just becoming active again.
"Hopefully it is the first step back to some meaningful fights," he added. "I'm happy to go into ones straight after this. I have done all the same rounds, the same runs, the same training, the same sacrifices - this game is way too hard to be messing about. I want to find out how good I am and get back to where I was."