Busy at last - Ryan Walsh’s verdict ahead of Golden Contract quarter-finals

Ryan Walsh comes up against Hairon Socarras this weekend Picture: Mark Hewlett Photography

Ryan Walsh comes up against Hairon Socarras this weekend Picture: Mark Hewlett Photography - Credit: Archant

Ryan Walsh is looking forward to a career first when the Golden Contract featherweight tournament gets underway on Friday.

The Cromer fighter has been a less familiar sight in the ring than his career deserves, but a move to the MTK Global management company has changed all that.

The Golden Contract format begins with four quarter-finals at York Hall this week, leading to a final showdown early next year - with the winner earning a two-year, five-fight deal that guarantees six-figure purses for every fight along with global exposure.

The format is music to Walsh's ears.

"If I do my job properly I'll have three fights in nine months," he said. "Never once in a 10-year career has that happened, so this is a golden opportunity for me."

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Walsh was hand-picked in the draw by Hairon Socarras.

"I'm really happy to be picked," said the 33-year-old Walsh. "Anybody that knows my career knows I don't get picked a lot, I get avoided, so this will be a good fight on Friday.

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"I've been the British champion for this long and had two mandatory challengers pull out, that never happens, so entering this tournament was a no brainer.

"This a golden opportunity, a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

"I'm grateful... I will see Hairon Socarras on Friday."

The undefeated Socarras, a 26-year-old Cuban, has 22 wins and three draws on his record, although he has never fought on these shores before.

"I came here to fight," he said. "Everybody was asking why I picked Walsh, but why not him? I'm here to fight whoever they put in front of me.

"I'm ready, and to be the best you have to fight the best. I have to show my skills against him, and you will all see what happens on Friday."

Draw: Leigh Wood v David Oliver Joyce, Jazza Dickens v Carlos Ramos, Hairon Socarras v Ryan Walsh, Tyrone McCullagh v Carlos Araujo.

The quarter-finals will be shown live by Sky Sports and in the US on ESPN+ in association with Top Rank, with the undercard on iFL TV worldwide.

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