Ryan Walsh sorts Christmas with British title defence
- Credit: PA
Ryan Walsh may have played Father Christmas to the Norfolk boxing brothers' 15 children, but he has some wishes of his own after defending his British featherweight title for the fifth time.
The 32-year-old had brothers Michael and twin Liam in his corner at the 02 Arena as he ended the dream of one of promoter Eddie Hearn's rising stars, Reece Bellotti with a spilt decision at the 02 Arena.
While Michael's boxing days are over after an unbeaten career, Liam's is far from it, despite having not stepped into the ring since his world title challenge against Gervonta Davis ended in defeat more than a year and a half ago.
It is a case of have gloves, will travel for the brothers – who made history when they became the first twins to hold British titles at the same time.
The dream for Ryan is to see his and Liam's names on a bill.
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'It pains me every time I think about it,' said Walsh. 'He is one of the best fighters not fighting, and he should be.
'Eddie could make that possible – me and Liam fighting for titles again.
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'So long as he is fighting I would be happy – he is nowhere near finished, he hasn't even get started - we hold no grudges but Liam didn't get started. I know my boxing and he is the first person who has fought for a world title. He is ready willing and able and nobody has come back to him. You'd have thought he would get a European shot at worst,'
Ryan himself was stepping into the ring for the first time since February, having seen a rematch against the man he drew with that night in Manchester, Isaac Lowe, cancelled. The pundits gave Bellotti more than a fighting chance to finally wrest the belt from Walsh's grip, But the plan began to go awry from the start: Walsh got off to a good start and my midway had won every round. Bellotti knew he had to do something, and quickly, and found a response, although it was the Cromer man who produced a superb ninth round to reassert his authority. Bellotti proved stubborn and Walsh couldn't quite bring it to a premature end, and the man from Watford battled hard for the remaining rounds without ever taking full control.
'I'm happy with the performance,' said Walsh. 'It was vital when you and your brothers have 15 children between you to make sure it is a Merry Christmas. Reece Bellotti can hold his head up high; I tried my hardest to knock him out but he was a tough man and has done nothing to hinder his own career. He will be a better man for this – he has just done 12 rounds with ne of the better featherweights in the country for the last few years.'
The only dispute after 12 rounds was the split decision: two judges scored it 116-112 to Walsh, while Ian John Lewis somehow viewed it 116-113 to Bellotti.