Ryan Walsh ready for Golden Contract showdown with Jazza Dickens
- Credit: Mark Hewlett
There will be a distinct case of déjà vu in the air when Ryan Walsh steps into the ring on Wednesday night for arguably the biggest fight of his career.
The Norfolk boxer has never shirked a challenge, which is why his opponents over the years have been of the highest calibre – who else would have insisted he take on Lee Selby at the height of his powers?
At stake is not just the Golden Contract featherweight weight title - and the money that goes with it - as well as a European bauble. If Walsh beats Jazza Dickens, he is all but guaranteed a world title shot. Ask any boxer, being crowned king of the global ring is the ultimate target.
Walsh v Dickens should have gone ahead in September, but the Liverpool fighter contracted coronavirus and it was all put on hold. On Wednesday they meet behind closed doors at a purpose-built facility in Wakefield after more time spent in a ‘bubble’ to reduce the risk of another postponement.
Walsh has taken the problems in his stride.
“Is this take two, three, four or five?” he said with a smile. “It was in June, then we had a call for August, then we did get September, it could have been October so now it is December. So, merry Christmas!
“I’ve been in situations where fights have gone three days beforehand. I had it with (twin brother) Liam who was all gloved up and ready on our second fight at the 02 and they told him, you’re not on... Liam didn’t get to fight. We have experiences of the rug being pulled from under our feet.”
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The twins’ boxing experiences go hand in glove, which is why they were side by side when the call came through that the September fight was off. And why together they turned the negative into a positive.
"I always have the foundation and the backing behind me – my brother. I use my brother as the base example because he was there with me when I took the phone call about the September fight. Within an instant of getting bad news we were working on things that could change the mood. Everything that happened was out of our hands so what we could control we tried to control to find some positivity with it, and we did. We turned a very rubbish situation into a positive life experience.”
The final positive will come if Walsh wins - and whilst Dickens’ southpaw style would be awkward for many, the Norfolk man – with his nominal orthodox stance - does have the perfect armoury.
“You get orthodox, southpaw, switch hitters – which supposedly we are,” said the 34-year-old. “I am an all-paw.
“I will punch from every position. I have invented a new stance – it is an all-paw. will hit you from every direction I can find. It is one of my best assets that I have only realised recently, that my awkwardness of style, which is unique. His, to be fair, is jerky and he is dangerous with his head, but my style is the all-paw."
Dickens, 29, said: "A win here leads to happiness, health and wealth. My mindset has changed a lot. I'm grateful to god for this opportunity and I thank him for giving me the strength to fight.
"I can't wait for this fight, and it's been a long time coming after it was pushed back in September. Me and Ryan both want the fight more than anyone and we took a blow on that day when it was called off.
"We spoke briefly over the phone about it, as we both shared a common loss, but now it is finally here and I'll take this opportunity."
Dickens' WBO European title is also up for grabs, although the big prize is the 'Golden Contract, where the winner will walk away with a six-figure fight contract with MTK Global.
The event and TV coverage begins at 6pm on iFL TV then moves to Sky Sports Arena (channel 408) from 7pm-11pm; and is broadcast on ESPN+ in the US. The event will be simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event (channel 401) from 10pm-11pm.