Liam Walsh admits he must do better after winning boxing’s WBO European lightweight title
Liam Walsh did a better job than his opponent of beating himself up after winning the WBO European lightweight crown.
The 26-year-old stopped Italian Domenico Urbano in the eighth round of their title fight, which was on the undercard of the David Haye versus Dereck Chisora grudge match at Upton Park.
Walsh, who trains out of the KickStop Gym in Norwich and who now has a 13-fight unbeaten record, inflicted the first stoppage on the 36-year-old Urbano of his 29-fight career, but was still not happy with the manner of his victory.
'A win is a win, but I'm not too impressed with it. The first couple of rounds you could see I was rusty, I've been trying to put my finger on it,' said Walsh, who entered the ring battling a whole host of emotions as it was his first fight since the death of his father who passed away just before Christmas at the age of 49 from heart disease.
'I've dedicated the win to my father. He was there all through my amateur and pro career. It was the first fight since I lost my dad so I had a lot of things going on there even down to the ring music, maybe I got too emotional.
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'The first couple of rounds I wasn't with it at all,' added Walsh, who was visibly rocked by his Italian opponent as early as the first round. 'I think it could have been a number of things. It wasn't even as though the guy was quick or he had long arms, he was throwing a simple jab at me and I wasn't even attempting to get out of the way of it.
'He caught me with right-hand leads, just landing them on me. I don't think I got caught with three right leads in my whole eight-week training camp! This guy landed about five in five seconds and I thought 'Oh god, I've got to knuckle down'.
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'When I got down to business I was all right but I was well disappointed because I really wanted to perform and put on a good show and I envisaged myself being brilliant all way through camp,' said Walsh, whose fight provided the aperitif to the main course of slugging action between Haye and Chisora in front of 30,000 fight fans.
'I want to get to the top and there is no way I'm getting to the top based on performances like that. It's not good enough, not good enough at all.'
Walsh, who had not fought since winning the Commonwealth super-featherweight title in a York Hall classic against Scotland's Paul Appleby in September, is now eager to keep himself busy with a possible return to the ring pencilled in for October.
'I just want to go back to the gym and work on this and work on that and work on defence, there's so much I want to work on,' said the Cromer-based fighter,
'If I had blown him away in a round then it would have gone unnoticed and everything would have been rosy until I got beaten. Now I'm so eager to improve.
'I've got to be busy (fighting) and when I am the sharpness and the timing comes. I was under the impression that I was defending my Commonwealth title in October before this fight.'
Walsh stepped up to lightweight for this latest clash, but it is at super-featherweight that his trainer Graham Everett believes he will continue to fight at for the forseeable future.
'This is now the start of the second phase of his career and hopefully we can move on to better things and get him busy,' said Everett, who was in Walsh's corner on Saturday's fight night along with his brothers Ryan and Michael.
'We need to get him out probably in October, and hopefully he can have two more good fights before Christmas.'
After being rocked in the first round with a left hook, Walsh did most of his best work from behind his jab with alternating shots to the body and head of Urbano.
The Italian, who had won 25 of his previous 29 fights, was cut above his right eye in the fifth round and was deducted a point for hitting after the bell.
It all provided a great platform for Walsh to start to go to work and unload some serious punishment on his opponent and the end wasn't long in coming. Walsh was delivering forceful blows at will and after just 30 seconds of the eighth round referee Mickey Vann stepped in to wave it off.