Cromer boxer Liam Walsh remains focused as new opponent is brought in for Manchester fight

Liam Walsh (left) and Joe Murray in action during the Commonwealth & Vacant IBF International Super-

Liam Walsh (left) and Joe Murray in action during the Commonwealth & Vacant IBF International Super-featherweight Championship bout at the Copper Box Arena, London, in September 2013. Picture: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Liam Walsh says his mental strength must match his boxing power when he steps into the ring this weekend after an eight-month lay-off.

The Cromer fighter has been dogged by bad luck since taking his record to 5-0 with a victory over John Murray in September last year.

His British title clash with Gary Sykes has been called off three times, and instead of taking on the Yorkshireman in Manchester tomorrow for the British super-featherweight title, Walsh now has a 10-round, non-title fight against Kevin Hooper.

But the 28-year-old admits he must shrug off the disappointment of another postponement – this time caused by Sykes' hand injury – and ensure he doesn't slip up against Hooper.

'I was devastated when the call came through that Sykes had to pull out,' said Walsh. 'It lasted for a few days.

'But this is business and I have to be ready for Kevin Hooper.

'He has been waiting for a big opportunity and he has got it now and he will be well up for it.'

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If Walsh's mental strength wanes, then he simply turns his mind back to the first defence of his Commonwealth title in March, 2011 against John Kays, which he won in the 10th round.

'I can see it being similar to the Kays fight when he was giving me everything he had,' said Walsh. 'The difference is that I didn't match. He was trying his absolute hardest and I didn't get there with him, but I have made that mistake before and I won't make it again. I will be ready and I certainly won't take anything for granted.

'I have made these mistakes before where I have not taken people as seriously as I should have done.'

Walsh is fighting at Manchester's Phones 4U Arena. Call 07920 114698 for tickets.