Liam Walsh v Gervonta Davis: a look at the fight that opened the door to world title challenge
- Credit: Philip Sharkey/TGS Photo
Liam Walsh v Andrey Klimov
Harrow, October 8, 2016
There is not one fight on Liam Walsh's CV that has not been vitally important: each has been a stepping stone on the way to the top.
But for all the title fights, it was this, the final eliminator against Andrey Klimov, that just had to be won. Without victory, there would be no exodus from Norfolk to London today to witness Walsh's shot at the Holy Grail – the world title itself.
Klimov was a danger: he was as eager as Walsh himself to get his hands on Jose Pedraza – although as it turned out, the Colombian went on to fight – and lose to - Gervonta Davis.
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But this was almost as comprehensive as it gets, with Walsh winning 119-108, 120-107 and 120-107.
Having taken a couple of rounds to weigh up his opponent, Walsh then took near complete control.
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He put Klimov on the seat of his pants – for the first time in his career – with a straight right at the very end of the fifth round. It might have been the time to attack – Klimov looked like he was there for the taking.
But from then on he was rarely troubled, but while everyone purred in appreciation at a consummate performance Walsh himself was a little more subdued. What he wanted to do was entertain the crowd with a stoppage and it is highly likely he would have been able to do that had he wanted.
But this was a take-no-risks fight and the advice from his corner was simple: just go and win in the best, least-risk, way possible.
In the immediate aftermath of the fight, Walsh was more self-critical than anyone outside the ring. 'I need to watch the fight back,' he said. 'Everyone has told me it was brilliant but I need to watch it back because I feel like I could have done better. I always want to win at all costs but a very close second is to keep fans entertained.'
You doubt very much the travelling Farmy Army fans minded too much: what they saw that night wasn't just an open invitation to watch Walsh contest a world title fight, but proof that he was capable of rising above the level of an opponent, how matter how dangerous.
They roared their approval: had they seen a world champion in the making? The answer is imminent.