Ryan Walsh and the Farmy Army prepare for Danish invasion ahead of European title fight

Ryan Walsh takes a break from training. Photo: SONYA DUNCAN

Ryan Walsh takes a break from training. Photo: SONYA DUNCAN

Ryan Walsh aims to complete what would be a remarkable dream double for Norfolk boxing this weekend.

The 30-year-old from Cromer challenges for the European featherweight title – seven days after he was in the corner for twin brother Liam's successful IBF world title eliminator.

The Walsh Roadshow leaves behind the comforts of Norwich's Kickstop Gym and heads to the small town of Frederikshavn in north-east Denmark where local favourite Dennis Ceylan awaits.

It's a rare overseas foray, but Walsh can't wait – especially with a travelling Farmy Army behind him.

'Judging from what I have heard and what we have done ticket-wise I think they are going to be shocked in Denmark,' said Walsh, who currently holds the British featherweight title.


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'The Farmy Army are out in force and I can't wait,' he said. 'It will be a great experience.'

'A ring is a ring. It doesn't matter where we fight, I just can't wait to do my job.

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''Pressure can either make you or break you as a fighter, and I love pressure. There is a saying that pressure makes diamonds, and I believe that will be the case for me next Saturday.'

The Arena Nord will play host to Walsh versus home favourite Ceylan, with the vacant European featherweight title up for grabs.

Walsh is the favourite: the experts at ringside in Harrow last weekend, as his twin brother Liam ran rings around Andrey Klimov to set up a world title fight, all have their money on the man from Cromer.

The man himself is confident: boxers have to be, even when it is unjustified. Right now, the Walsh brothers have every right to feel that way.

They are quiet and unassuming. When Liam was asked how he could cope with fame his answer was simple: 'Wear a mask.'

Ryan's not hugely different: it's about what happens inside the ring that matters, not what he looks like outside out of it. Neither courts controversy, neither currys favour, neither tries to attract headlines of a dubious nature.

Had they been more vocal in their rise to the top, then perhaps they would have sold more tickets, made more money, been on bigger bills. But it would have been a case of selling themselves down the river, so don't hold your breath. It's all about the boxing.

Denmark has already had its first sighting of Team Walsh – and Ryan, no surprise, just about summed himself and his ambitions up in just a few words.

'I'm excited to be here in Denmark fighting for the European title,' he said. 'I think it's going to be a great fight and I believe Dennis will bring out the best in me, but I've been training hard and I'm confident I will win. I've already won the English and British titles, so this is the next step for me, and after I bring that blue belt home, the world title is next.'

And there you have it, just about.

Walsh has fought overseas once before, in Tenerife, where he and Liam spend a lot of time training – but he was among a group of boxers from the 'home' gym, so there was no hostility.

'I still felt like the home fighter there,' he recalled. 'I know I won't feel one bit like that in Denmark.

'I've always wanted to be the away fighter and to have everyone rooting for the other guy. I want to be booed, I want to be the underdog and I want to feel the pressure.

'It will be the best possible Ryan Walsh on the night, and it will have to be as this is by far the biggest fight of my career. I know it's going to be tough, and when you're fighting for the European title it should be a tough, but I'm ready for the challenge.

Ceylan will have home backing, of course, and insists he is ready to write a new chapter in Danish boxing history.

'I've had the toughest training camp of my career and I feel better prepared than ever,' said the 27-year-old. 'I'm expecting a close fight, but I believe I'm the better boxer, and I intend to prove that on Saturday night.

'I'm not just fighting for myself. I'm fighting for my children, my coach and my country.'

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