It’s a thinking man’s game as far as Ryan Walsh is concerned

Ryan Walsh - thinking positive. Picture: Nick Butcher

Ryan Walsh - thinking positive. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

'I am better when I am doing two things at once, unbelievably,' says Ryan Walsh as he prepares to chat whilst changing for a gym session.

Walsh cuts a calm figure, happy to talk football, the meaning of life, the weather – but most of all, the art of boxing.

It's not just how to beat a man on the night, but the psychology of the sport. Walsh is a thinking boxer, an analyst of the sport. A believer that great minds can help make great sportsmen.

He has an opportunity to test the theory when he returns to the ring a week on Saturday, facing Marco McCullough in a British featherweight title defence.

Walsh is coming off the back of the second defeat of his career. The first was to Lee Selby, four years ago yesterday – no shame in that given Selby was, and is, on the world stage. The second was last October when a challenge for the European crown was ended by Dennis Ceylan in Denmark, a points decision going to the home boxer.

'I am a massive believer that actions speak louder than words, so my actions will speak louder than words, simple,' said Walsh. 'I keep banging on about this, but I never looked at it as a loss. What did I lose? I learned. With Ceylan I gave him the opportunity to give the decision they did, but I can't dwell on it, it is in the past.

'I have a couple of regrets, but I don't dwell on that either, I learn from it.

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'I now have to win this next fight and redeem that. I think that is the fair thing.

'I don't see negatives, I only see positives. I am a much better fighter now – 12 rounds under the lights in a foreign country and I am a lot better. I feel better and stronger. Maybe if I had that I wouldn't be going back to the British level to defend this title and keep it.'

Walsh's dominance won't lull him into complacency.

'When I won the British title I tweeted that I was the best in Britain – but still not the best in my own household,' he said with a smile. 'And I believe that – Liam and Michael wouldn't allow it and I wouldn't let them do that. I am very ground.'

And that is what will stand Walsh in good stead when he steps into the ring at the Copperbox a week on Saturday – the knowledge that fights are won not just with brawn, but with brains too.

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