Role models Liam and Ryan Walsh hope to hand out another history lesson
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
History-making twins Liam and Ryan Walsh have been held up as perfect role models for young Norwich boxers.
The 29-year-olds are the first twins to hold British titles at the same time – and make history again on Saturday when they defend their belts on the same London bill.
Their 'office' is the Kickstop Gym in Norwich's Whiffler Road, which is building a growing reputation as a small but perfectly-formed maker of quality fighters.
Sam Sexton still has eyes on a heavyweight title shot, while big things are expected of former world junior champion Nathan Dale, who is close to a comeback after more than a year out through injury.
'As a group this is the best it has ever been,' said trainer Graham Everett, who helped Herbie Hide to world title successes and Jon Thaxton to British and European championships.
'Boxing in Norwich is fantastic at the minute and Liam and Ryan are the gym leaders now, they are the champions.
'They are there for everyone, amateur or professional, anyone in this gym, anyone in this area – they are for everyone to look up to and want to emulate.
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'They are great role models outside of boxing as well.
'There is a saying in boxing that you have got to live the life – those two live the life. Everything about their day starts with training – with what they eat, the training runs, the gym.
'Their whole life revolves around this sport. That is what they do. They have no vices – they are the perfect example for anybody to follow.'
Liam – who has been out since last July after undergoing hand surgery – is top of the bill at the Copperbox on London's Olympic Park on Saturday, when he will defend his super-featherweight title against Coventry's Troy James, while Ryan defends his featherweight title against Belfast's rangy big-hitter James Tennyson.
Injury and ill-fortune have hampered Liam's pro career, and while the world stage beckons, he refuses to take his eyes off the ball ahead of the weekend.
'I'm up for this fight, don't worry,' he said. 'Honestly, this is the best I've ever made weight in my life, and that includes when I've fought up at lightweight.
'I've been much stricter with my diet. Not a single piece of artificial sugar has crossed my lips and on Sunday, I was only four and a half pounds over. I'm usually that on the morning of a fight.'
For both brothers, it is a case of living the dream.
'I teach my children all about respect and that respect gives you pride,' said Ryan. 'I am doing things in this sport I have dreamed of doing all my life, that I have worked to do. No one can ever take this away from me, being British champion.
'I won the title, I have defended the title, I am going to defend it again. My whole aim was to win that British title. It is something I had every intention of doing and it gives me added confidence – but being a champion is a totally different mindset to being a challenger. I have everything to lose, they have everything to gain.'