Liam Walsh ready to take his place at the top table again - trainer
- Credit: Archant
Liam Walsh is taking 'a big step' as he refuses to dodge tough tests on his return to the ring.
The Cromer fighter has had one warm-up fight - back in May - since a two-year lay-off, but makes a big step up in class when he faces Maxi Hughes at York Hall on November 9.
At stake is the World Boxing Organisation's European lightweight title, with Walsh determined to get back into the world title conversation, as he was on May 2017 when he took on Gervonta Davis for the IBF world super-featherweight crown. It was a task that was, for the first time in his career, beyond him, but Walsh wants another crack at that level - and trainer Graham Everett has a simple answer to the question, 'can he get back to that level?'"
"Of course he can," said the Norwich trainer. "Otherwise he wouldn't be back. He wouldn't be back and there is only one way we are going to find out.
"This is the first real test, and it is a test, make no mistake about it. Nobody should be looking past Maxi Hughes, who is a good solid professional. I know he has been out in Ireland sparring with James Tennyson for three weeks, his preparation is top notch always, he is with a good team, he is out of the Josh Warrington camp so I know he is going to be a fully-focused, prepared fighter - and we will make sure we are as well."
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Walsh's last outing was a third-round stoppage over Nicuarguan Reynaldo Cajina which would have brought him little satisfaction given his opponent's negative record.
But Hughes (19-4-2) is a different proposition.
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"It is a big step," said Everett. "You can't beat activity. I have always said that. Activity is very, very important, but Liam has a lot of experience, he has boxed all his life.
"If you had had your way he would probably have had another warm-up, but he wants to get on with it, he is not here to mess about. He wants big fights, we have spoken to MTK (his management company) and it is on the agenda that he wants big fights and they have come up with this one which, on paper is a 50-50 fight. He is a good fighter, Maxi Hughes, nobody should under-estimate him, he is a very clever southpaw, he has been in with some really good fighters and been on the end of a couple of dodgy decisions to be honest with you.
"The only time I have seen him beaten properly was probably by Sam Bowen, the British super-featherweight champion, but he is a very good technician and we are expecting a very difficult night against him, it will be a real clever fight.
"Liam has said from day one, 'I don't want to mess about, I want to get back in there and I want to get on it'. We have sparred with Alex Dilmaghani, who is now fighting for the world title a week after us so we are having some great southpaw preparation.
It has been really good quality work.
"Preparations are good, we obviously have (twin brother) Ryan who is a southpaw, Martin McDonagh and our own Liam Goddard - we have had all sorts coming at him, so he has dug deep. He had his month in Tenerife and now he is back here finishing off, doing his work and we are in a good place, we are ready. Ready in his mind and our minds are two different things - he is a perfectionist and he wants to be fit and ready, really fit and ready, and he is fit and ready."