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Ryan Walsh aiming to prove he is not a one-trick pony with British boxing title defence

11:56 22 January 2016

Ryan Walsh trains ahead of his British featherweight boxing title defence fight in London. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Ryan Walsh trains ahead of his British featherweight boxing title defence fight in London. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2016

It does not take long watching Ryan Walsh training in the gym to realise the Cromer fighter is fit and firing – three days from his first British title defence.

It does not take long watching Ryan Walsh training in the gym to realise the Cromer fighter is fit and firing – three days from his first British title defence.

The 29-year-old featherweight champion launched the Walsh brothers into British boxing history back in September, when he joined twin Liam with the national belt – becoming the first set of twins to simultaneously hold British titles.

And come Friday night at Bethnal Green’s York Hall, Ryan Walsh can take things a step further with the first defence of his title, against Aberdeen’s unbeaten Darren Traynor.

“I’m really excited,” said Walsh. “The tickets are flying and I’m buzzing. It’s the most excited I’ve ever been for a fight.

“I was excited for Liam’s British title and I was excited for my first, but this is to prove I’m not a one-trick pony. This is to prove I’m going somewhere. I know where I’ve been and I know where I want to go as well, so I can’t wait.”

You sense Walsh is relishing the chance to go from hunter to hunted, while carrying his ‘champion’ title forward over the course of the next 12 months.

“It’s completely different now – once you’d done it and won it, it all changes,” said Walsh.

“I think it’s a lot easier trying to get something and I know how Traynor is going to feel trying to get this belt off me. He’s going to be very energetic, lively, he’s undefeated. But as the champion, I don’t want to let this belt go and I’m not going to let it go. He’d have to bring everything and more.

“I’ve said this a few times – I’ve fought three Scottish opponents, Liam has fought one and they are all tough. And this will be a tough, hard fight.

“And then he’s well-schooled and undefeated on top of that. Stylistically I think it should be a good fight for me, so I really think this will be one for the fans to enjoy.”

One thing a January fight tends to mean is a strict Christmas – but at least there has been the benefit of a warm new year, having enjoyed his recent winter training base in Tenerife.

And all that will have played its part in headlining Frank Warren’s opening fight night of the year.

“It was hard,” added Walsh. “Christmas is all about putting weight on. Usually I’m cold and fat in Norfolk – this time I was hot and skinny in Spain.

“On Christmas Day, I did a mountain run in the morning and a gym session in the evening. But making such sacrifices toughens you mentally and I’m sure it’ll be worth it on Friday.

“I intend to show the best possible version of Ryan Walsh, and a massive improvement on my title-winning performance. I definitely feel I’m getting better in the gym and I want to prove I’m a worthy champion.

“My fans will take over York Hall. So many aren’t even boxing fans, yet they just stump up their hard earned money to support me, as friends. That’s very humbling.

“Pressure makes diamonds, they say – and the Farmy Army are among the noisiest supporters in the country. So I intend giving them plenty to cheer about.”

Follow Michael Bailey on Twitter @michaeljbailey

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