Liam Walsh defends title with ‘world class finish’
Liam Walsh successfully came through the first defence of his Commonwealth super-featherweight title with what trainer Graham Everett described as a 'world class finish'.
The Cromer fighter stopped Jon Kays in front of his own Wigan fans in the 10th round after a brace of crunching body shots sent his opponent to the canvas for the second time on the night.
But Everett admitted that the 24-year-old left the north-west determined to iron out a few 'flaws' in his performance.
'To be honest, obviously Liam is a work in progress, we are learning all the time and we mustn't forget that this was only his 11th professional fight, which means he is still an absolute baby in boxing terms. I think first and foremost you have to credit Jon Kays, he absolutely fought his heart out. Although we had prepared for 12 hard rounds, he probably did surprise us. He was so strong, so tough and took some seriously good shots.
I think the game plan, from our point of view, was maybe to go to the body a little bit more, but sometimes things don't always click. Liam was still winning the fight comfortably - I know he is very disappointed in his own performance, but that's the way he is.
'The one massive thing to come out of this is the 10th round - it was a world class finish.'
Walsh - who suffered a minor cut to the head in the third - had Kays on the floor in the fourth round, a big left hook wobbling Kays' legs before a barrage of punches put him down.
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But Kays fought back and rocked Walsh with an overhand right in the eighth.
But Walsh's class shone through with a brilliant response in the ninth before he ended it in the 10th.
'He just switched body-head, he opened it up and finished it with a world-class left hook to the body,' said Everett. 'That is exactly the difference between Liam and a lot of other fighters - he's got that tucked away.
'I know he is disappointed and he certainly didn't box as well as he is capable of, but he is a work in progress. It was a great learning fight for him. It is now his second championship fight and he has come through and won in world class fashion. The finish, I can't emphasise it enough, was absolutely superb.
'Liam, myself, everybody in our gym wants perfection - that's how you get to the top and stay at the top. The thing is he made a few more mistakes, got caught by silly shots, than he would normally, but he came through it.
'He got caught in round eight, came back in round nine, boxed his ears off. The ninth round was a brilliant round for Liam - that's how he should have been boxing all the way through it. He was sharp, using his speed, using his movement and finishing off his combinations with body shots.
'But it is all a learning curve - we move on and learn from that and we will have a sit down with (promoter) Frank Warren in the next couple of weeks and see where we go from there.'