Liam Walsh moves nearer world class target
Trainer Graham Everett believes Liam Walsh took a major step in his development as one of the country's top young fighters after his titanic clash with Paul Appleby.
Walsh defended his Commonwealth super-featherweight title for the second time after felling the Scot with a vicious body-punch at the end of the 10th round on Friday night, forcing Appleby's corner to retire him on his stool.
The Cromer fighter had been on the canvas himself in the seventh, but came storming back as the clash turned into a classic, befitting the historic surrounds of the York Hall in Bethnal Green.
Talk will inevitably turn to what comes next, but for the moment it's time to rest a weary body.
'I would say a little rest for now,' said Everett. 'But Liam crossed a big bridge in there. He is definitely going to be moving in the right direction I am sure of it. Whatever is next we take – we will see what (promoter) Frank Warren has in his plans.
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'I know what Liam is capable of, but doing it on the stage is different and he did it tonight. It was a 50-50 fight, but I always had faith in Liam. He is a warrior inside.'
Appleby played his part, refusing to buckle during the eighth and ninth rounds when Walsh, renowned for his punching power, hit him with everything he had, and then trying to draw the champion into a scrap.
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'To be fair, Liam is a very clever silky boxer who boxed in periods very well but who got drawn into a fight maybe where he didn't need to, but one thing for sure, he answered a lot of questions,' said Everett. 'He got hurt and he came back.
'Paul Appleby was in the shape of his life. He is a very strong, experienced campaigner, he has a good, tight guard and was walking him down, but to be fair the more determined man won and that is the sign of a good champion.'
Walsh's powers of recovery were never more evident that at the end of the seventh.
'I just told him to clear his head, that's what you do,' said Everett. 'He cleared his head and came out and had a good eighth round. The thing is that is the sign of somebody who isn't going to fold under pressure. I don't want too many of them, but that was always going to be a classic, it was always going to be a great fight, between two very, very good fighters.
'Liam did work the body a lot, he was jabbing at the body and every opportunity he got he did hit the body, but maybe if you are going to be critical he got too involved at times – but sometimes it is hard.
'When Appleby went down I didn't think he would get up. You have to be careful, with Appleby because he is known for his power, he is known for his powerful body shot, his big right hand, big left hook. When he was an amateur he was banging everybody out. He's a great fighter and I have nothing but the utmost respect for him.'
Everett has taken Herbie Hide and Jon Thaxton – who was among the huge 'Farmy Army' following that travelled to the capital on Friday – to the top of the boxing tree, but believes his latest fight was up there with the very best.
'Some people are saying that this is the best fight they have ever seen,' said Everett. 'Trust me when you are working in the corner what little hair I have got is going badly.
'It was a classic. I would say that is one of the best fights I have ever seen that close. I was at Watson v Eubank, I watched all of them years ago, I used to go and watch them with Herbie.
'And what an atmosphere – the crowd was brilliant.'