Flawless Ryan follows in brother’s footsteps

Ryan Walsh produced a near-perfect performance last night to win the vacant English super-bantamweight title at York Hall.

The Cromer man was a unanimous points winner over Londoner Liam Richards, who was the 'away boxer' in his own back yard as Norfolk's 'Farmy Army' once again lit up the famous East End venue.

Three weeks ago twin brother Liam had defended his Commonwealth super-featherweight crown – and while this was not in the same league as that amazing night of boxing, the performance was just as classy.

The judges scored it 100-90, 100-90, 99-91 – a margin which perfectly illustrated Walsh's dominance.

'I am over the moon,' said Walsh. 'I promised this belt to my little boy five or six days ago and now he is wearing it I am over the moon.'

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Walsh prides himself on his defensive strengths – and he was hardly hit by Richards last night.

'I would like to thank all my sparring partners for that,' he said, 'I probably didn't bank on Liam Richards being so tough – big respect to him; he took a lot of punches.'

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Walsh is now undefeated in 13 professional outings – and went past eight rounds for the first time in his career. The only reason for that was Richards' durability.

The 25-year-old Cromer man caught the eye immediately, defending well, moving his head and feet quickly and purposefully. An early slip had him on the canvas, but his calculated punches saw Richards struggle to get near him. It was a confident start, highlighted by a good uppercut in the closing stages of the opening round.

Walsh showed plenty of variety in the second, forcing Richards back with quick hands and finishing the round with a good right hand.

Walsh had easily taken the opening rounds and even when Richards threw his fists Walsh was too elusive to be hit – little was landing.

A series of three left hooks had Richards back-peddling early in the fourth, before sending a few more to the sides of Richards' body.

There was little from Richards to trouble Walsh by the halfway mark of the 10-round bout, although the Londoner looked to step up his urgency at the start of the sixth. The problem was still the difficulty of breaking through the Walsh defence.

Walsh more than matched his opponent, banging in some more body punches, finding his target every time.

Richards was forced to retreat almost around the whole ring as Walsh chased him down in the seventh with a flurry of punches. It was bullying boxing from Walsh, who was in total control.

A straight left hand from Richards in the eighth found its mark, but it wasn't enough and he ended the round with a nick near his left eye.

Walsh was now entering unknown territory in the ninth but looked to have plenty of stamina and was clearly looking for a finish. It wasn't hell for leather stuff, but you sensed that when the opportunity arose, Walsh would strike. The fact that it didn't was testament to Walsh's patience, nothing less. If Richards was to stand any chance then he had to launch a huge attack in the final round to avert a points defeat. But it was Walsh who was on the front foot, refusing to let his man get near him.

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