Liam Walsh adds another belt to his collection after six-round victory Manchester
- Credit: PA
Liam Walsh moved a step closer to a world title shot after unleashing a terrific body shot to dispose of Brazilian puncher Isaias Santos Sampaio in Manchester.
The Cromer fighter had to be patient against Sampaio, who showed little appetite for engagement, but in the sixth round he made his move, a left to the chin uncovering a gap which he exploited with potent accuracy. Sampaio fell to the canvas, writhing in agony, and it was all over.
The reward was the vacant WBO Intercontinental lightweight title and a rise into the top 10 rankings – which will put him high in the running for a shot at the WBO's new world lightweight champion, Terry Flanagan, who beat Jose Zepeda later on the same bill.
'Sampaio was a tough nut to crack, he wasn't like I'd seen on video footage,' said Walsh, the British and Commonwealth super-featherweight champion. 'From what I saw he was more aggressive and attacking, I was looking forward to seeing that tonight but he didn't show it.
'It was frustrating because up until the fourth round I wasn't at my best and then I switched to southpaw and I started landing more, that's the thing I can adjust and change plans to overcome my opponent.
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'Although it wasn't my best performance, it was one of my best finishes and I'm really happy with the ending, it was a beautiful shot and I knew that he wasn't going to get up from that one.'
Walsh – born in Rochdale but brought up in Cromer – was once again backed by a noisy group of 'Farmy Army' fans, who are getting used to travelling long distances to see their man in action.
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'I want to thank them, and my fans from Rochdale who came over,' added Walsh. 'I can't thank them enough. I haven't been back to Rochdale for years but every time I fight this way they come in big numbers.
'And I'd like to thank Simon from JV Groundworks in Norwich for his help and support.