Title lifts Liam Walsh to new level
AUDIO: Graham Everett believes new Commonwealth super featherweight champion Liam Walsh has come of age after another perfect fight night for Cromer's Walsh brothers.
The Norwich trainer was a proud man at the York Hall, Bethnal Green on Saturday night, as he saw Michael Walsh stop Ian Bailey inside the first round and Ryan dish out eight rounds of punishment on James Ancliff to get a commanding points decision.
But Ryan's twin, Liam, won the big one, taking a unanimous points win over dangerous Ghanaian fighter Maxwell Awuku after 12 thrilling rounds to book the brothers' first title – and you would put a lot of money on it not being their last.
'What a night for me; I'm made up,' said Everett. 'That was the plan – three fights, three wins.
'What a master class from Liam. He followed instructions, boxed absolutely beautifully. He had a tough fight, there is no doubt about it. He had 11 knockout wins, 50pc knockouts. They are known for strong boys but as we went on the plan was obviously to hit and not be hit, and that's what has worked for us.
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'We kept the African off balance, he was throwing big shots and missing. But to be honest Liam came of age tonight. That's given him a world ranking, so I'm delighted. I'm having a day off tomorrow as well – it's been non-stop!'
With the word destiny written on the back of his shorts, Liam was in early command but it did not take his Ghanaian opponent long to prove exactly why the short notice fight was a risk for the 24-year-old, with tight defence and plenty of power from some big punches and a huge reach advantage.
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But Liam proved he had the chin and the heart, especially after a tough seventh round that could not end quickly enough for the Cromer fighter – and took the vacant title after the judges scored it 119-111, 117-112 and 117-113.
The vociferous Farmy Army, who had owned York Hall for the evening, chanted 'Three-nil to the Walshy boys.' Job done.
'It's brilliant, I'm really happy – I had a good tough fight there, a really tough fight,' said Liam. 'A couple of tough rounds in there but the fans pulled me through as always. Every tough patch they didn't go quiet, they roared me on, they were something else – they always are.'
Liam's 10th win from 10 was his toughest by far, as Akuwu took him to 12 rounds for the first time: 'I feel good,' said Walsh. 'I'm not out of breath and I wasn't tired, I just maybe at some little stages have boxed the wrong fight here and there.
'The rounds weren't that much of a problem to be honest with you – maybe I didn't give it enough in that case. I need to have a look at it on video.
'I'm not overly ecstatic with my performance, but I'm the champion and my mum's got a belt – that will do.
'She's been there all my life, done everything for me, still does everything for me – it's my mum's belt, that is.'
So a coming of age fight for Liam – but there will be plenty more to come.
'That fight will stand me in good stead for the future,' he said. 'I don't know where we go with it now. Obviously it's down to Frank Warren and Dean Powell to guide me on the right path – maybe a defence and we go from there.
'But Michael was something else tonight, knocked Ian Bailey out in one. Ryan hit his guy with every shot in the book and fought a real tough character and three wins again, that's all I can ask for.
'It means everything, having my two brothers there. We're inseparable.
'We're too close and without them and I couldn't do anything. I wouldn't live.'
Dereck Chisora, James Degale and Sam Sexton all took in a thoroughly entertaining night, where earlier on Warren's York Hall card, Dulwich's Ahmet 'Pattycake' Patterson, smooth welterweight Bradley Skeete and home boxer Billy Morgan, from West Ham, all made winning starts to their professional careers.
Former Sheffield United and Birmingham City footballer Curtis Woodhouse was closing in on a title shot of his own but suffered a blow, losing by a point after an eight-round light welterweight cracker with Bermondsey's Pete McDonagh.
Light middleweight Steve O'Meara rounded things off with a points win over six rounds against Terry Carruthers.