Michael Walsh crowns boxing’s successful return to Norwich with stunning comeback victory
Michael Walsh capped off boxing's return to Norwich with a stunning performance in front of an ecstatic home crowd.
Walsh was sent to the canvas after only 10 seconds of his International Masters super-featherweight title fight against Georgian opponent George Gochechiladze at the Norfolk Showground.
But the Cromer fighter weathered the storm in amazing style. Determined to make his performance a fitting tribute to his father, John, who died just before Christmas last year, Walsh put all his pent-up emotions into every punch.
He quickly pulled himself together before launching a vicious assault that saw Gochechiladze twice hit the deck, the second time with the last punch of the opening round - and this time the plucky visitor just couldn't recover.
It was a typically explosive performance from Walsh, fired by an absence from the ring after almost two years as well as those personal emotions.
'I think I walked in there with too much emotion,' admitted Walsh. 'I tried to fight if off all day because boxing is a sport in which you can't fight your emotions, but unfortunately it's the one thing that fires me up, it's the weapon I use and it makes a good fighter of me. I really get stuck in on emotion - I think about my brothers, my mum, my close family, my little girl - losing my dad set a fire in the woodburner for me.'
Walsh's win sparked wild scenes among the noisy crowd, who had already been served up a brilliant appetiser to the main event when his brother Ryan also featured in a first round win of three knockdowns. This time it was all his own work - three short but stunningly powerful shots left Mikel Gogebosvilim of Georgia, on his knees with only two minutes and 37 seconds on the clock.
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It was a good night for Norfolk fighters Nathan Dale and Scott Moises. Dale made it five wins out of five when he beat the difficult Mark McKray on points, 59-55, while Moises also had a points win, by 40-36, against tough journeyman Kristian Laight.
But there was disappointment for Lowestoft cruiserweight Paul Davis, whose fight was ended after just two minutes and 28 seconds of the first round after he was on the wrong end of a powerful right hand by Elvis Dube.