Liam Walsh prepared to wing it at Upton Park
Liam Walsh aims to make up for lost time on Saturday night, when he returns to the ring after 10 months on the sidelines of the sport he loves.
The 26-year-old Commonwealth super-featherweight champion faces Italian veteran Domenico Urbano at Upton Park on one of the most talked about fight nights of recent times, as Dereck Chisora and David Haye round off a suitably heavyweight occasion.
Up for grabs for Cromer boxer Walsh is the vacant WBO European title – and fuelling him is the fact it was September when he last got to taste real action, taking the Commonwealth crown after putting Paul Appleby to the sword at York Hall.
And with a crowd of up to 40,000 expected, unbeaten Walsh cannot wait.
'I've missed it badly,' admitted Walsh. 'I love boxing, it's all I've done all my life: box, box, box. I love the training and the running, but nothing beats being there on the night, walking out. Everyone's booing and cheering, whatever they're doing – usually cheering in my case…
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'I've missed everything. The atmosphere, getting to step into the ring, the swinging at someone and even them swinging at me too; I enjoy that which sounds pretty crazy.
'I just want to fight. I'm excited and I can't wait to fight in front of all those fans. I just wish it was here now.
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'This is about getting back in and getting my career back on track. Whatever belt it was for I would still be taking the fight, no matter what. As long as I'm fighting and hopefully a decent opponent, which I'm sure he will be, it's all about moving forward.'
The man standing in Walsh's way is Domenico Urbano – a winner of 25 fights from 29, and a former European featherweight champion in his own right.
'He's 36 so the worst end of 30 and he's not going to be that clever maybe, but on the other hand boxers are going on longer these days,' added Walsh.
'You only have to look through some of the best fighters in the world and there are plenty on the wrong end of 30 – so you can't just discount him.
'We asked for some footage before the fight, which we didn't get, but I'll just have to have a look at him in the first couple of rounds maybe, see what he's all about go from there. I've said before, I believe my biggest strength is my adaptability.
'But I'm expecting him to be quite tough and maybe awkward. I've seen quite a lot of Italian amateurs over the years and the few pros, and the last Italian that came over to these shores was a few months ago and (Emiliano Marsili) absolutely slaughtered Derry Mathews, and Derry is no one's mug.
'So that was a shock and I've definitely go to have my wits about me and be on my game.'
Liam's brothers Michael and twin Ryan will once again be in his corner along with Norwich trainer Graham Everett – although one man missing will be the brothers' father, who died just before Christmas from heart disease at the age of 49.
Walsh acknowledged stepping in the ring is now all about making the man who taught him how to box – and especially about the will to fight – proud.
That starts with Urbano – Walsh's first fight at lightweight, which may be a sign of things to come.
'I got offered this fight at either super-feather or lightweight and I thought, you know what, I wouldn't mind lightweight; it's not often you get offered the choice,' said Walsh.
'I thought I wouldn't mind seeing how I perform after not having to boil down and struggle with the weight, so this is my chance to do it. And I feel brilliant. I've got a little bit extra and I feel much better for that and I've felt really strong in training.
'Short-term I'll definitely go back down to feather but at some point I will definitely be a lightweight. I've got the frame for it. I'm tall enough and got the shoulders, I could hold this weight.
'But I've still got a few things to do at super feather. I know I can still make that comfortably enough and I'm getting a nutritionist and a strength and conditioning coach on board after this fight, so I'll be going back down.'
Saturday's fight night has already proved a controversial one – but judging by the likely bumper crowd, the public clearly wants to see the fight – as does Walsh.
'I'm looking forward to seeing the bill myself – I'm still caught in two minds whether I want to fight early and watch the bill, or fight later and get the massive atmosphere,' he said. 'I'm excited by it all. It's going to be a good night for sure.'