‘I can fight anyone, but I can’t fight myself’ - Ryan Walsh considers weight issue
- Credit: Archant
Ryan Walsh has a strong bond with his British featherweight championship belt that has seen off all-comers - but it could be his own body that sees them part company.
Walsh won the title in September 2015 and has defended it on six occasions, the last at York Hall on Friday night when he beat Scotland's Lewis Paulin.
He has already earned the right to have a Lonsdale belt of his own - which he immediately gave to older brother Michael - and would dearly boxing's authorities to allow him to have another, for twin Liam.
But that relationship with the Holy Grail of domestic boxing may depend on whether Walsh is willing to put his body through the trauma of making weight. Victory over Paulin came via a split decision which, although raising a few eyebrows ringside, perhaps emphasised Walsh's post-fight analysis.
"I just want activity," said the 33-year-old Cromer fighter. "I can't be waiting six months again, I am not young, I am no spring chicken. More than anything it is making weight, it is just hard. As you get older you get that little bit better and it is hard to keep shrinking down. That is no excuse for tonight's performance and I give props to Lewis, but I don't like that, it is very difficult."
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He added: "I can fight anyone, but I can't fight myself. If I can't be active then fighting myself is the hardest bit because each year, I have worked out, since I have been a pro, naturally I have put on 2lb a year, so that is getting harder and harder. I haven't even got two grams to mess about with. I was nine stone (at the weigh-in) on the nose yesterday and I was so happy with that. As a perfectionist that made me really happy, I don't want to give a gram either way, so we will see.
"I put on 11lb for fight night and I was happy with that. I was bright and fresh."
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Paulin went into the fight with a 100pc record after 12 outings: Walsh knew he would be tough, and so it proved. The Walsh uppercut landed a few times, but Paulin brushed it off, although he looked wobbly in the third when Walsh caught him with a right hand.
"I think there was a little bit of that energy missing, which really annoyed me and I didn't jump on him enough and I just think that style and that opponent was set up to make me look brilliant," he said. "I was very disappointed with my own self performance."
Trainer Graham Everett believes the time is right for Walsh to be given another shot at the European title - and then see him and twin Liam on the world stage.
Ryan controversially lost a European challenge to Dennis Ceylan in Denmark in October, 2016, but trainer Everett believes it is the logical next step.
"Ryan needs a big fight," said Everett. "He needs something to really motivate himself now - another shot at the European and why not a world title shot? o disrespect to the British title, but he is ready to move on from that."
Liam has had one comeback fight after a two-year ring absence but, like Ryan, has signed a deal with management company MTK which should keep them more active.
"We need to get them in the world picture," added Everett. "They are both good enough to get at that level. Ryan needs to be in a European title fight, a big fight, something juicy, and the same with Liam - a decent fight and then we will be in with some big fights."