Brothers in arms: Ryan Walsh set for British title battle
When Ryan Walsh steps into the ring at London's 02 Arena tonight, you can be guaranteed that twin brother Liam won't be far behind.
Exactly seven days after Liam retained his Commonwealth super-featherweight title a few miles north at east London's Copper Box, Ryan will be attempting to bring home the most important prizes of his career – so far. The British and Commonwealth featherweight versions of that most traditional of all boxing trophies are both held by his opponent, Lee Selby.
Selby is favourite to take them back to south Wales, but the 27-year-old twins, older brother Michael and their trainer Graham Everett have other ideas; there's a mantlepiece in Cromer with a space waiting to be filled and, so far, the brothers have left nothing in the ring.
Everett is the man who, a decade ago, leaned across to a colleague at ringside and said, 'these two lads are going to be British champions one day'. As the legend, Muhammad Ali once said: 'The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.'
Everett has seen the Walsh boys work away from the eyes of thousands and seen the strong relationship between the twins.
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'They are disciplined in the ring and in their every-day life,' said Everett, who has helped train the only other men from Norfolk to win British titles, Jon Thaxton and Herbie Hide.
'They live the right life and they are great believers, they drive each other on. I hear them talking to each other sometimes and I don't needto tey and inspire them because they inspire each other – there is a big buzz amongst that family.'
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The bookies hardly give Walsh a hope, but it matters little to those at Norwich's Kickstop Gym, from where they operate.
'Ryan on his best day beats Lee Selby. but he will have to be at his very best, he knows that, we all know that,' said Everett.
'You have to give Selby the edge in terms of experience, but Ryan brings something to the ring that perhaps Selby hasn't faced yet, somebody with an extremely good defence who can really frustrate fighters.
'This is Ryan's coming out patry.
'It is a big event for him, but he brings a lot of problems to Lee Selby.'
The fight night, headlined by Olympic champion Anthony Joshua's pro debut, is being televised on Sky Sport 2, from 8.30pm.