By Terence Dooley
It has been four years since Cromer's fighting Walsh brothers, Liam, Ryan and Michael, made their pro debuts live on ITV sport. The trio of boxers launched their careers in a blaze of publicity, yet their careers have now slowed to a crawl, or complete stop in the case of former 2007 ABA flyweight titlist Michael.
Liam is the current Commonwealth title holder at super featherweight, his last fight was a gruelling win over Paul Appleby, which was televised live on BoxNation's launch night last September. Prior to this he produced fireworks when stopping Jon Kays in March of the same year. Liam has been inactive since that win, Ryan has not fought since October and his fellow super bantamweight Michael, 8-0 (8), has been M.I.A. since October 2010. A state of affairs that both Liam and Ryan hope will be addressed in coming months.
“My fights have been spread out,” said Ryan, 13-0 (5), when speaking to Boxingscene.com. “I'd like to have five or six fights a year to get the ball rolling again. We just want some big fights.”
Liam concurred, telling me that the excitement of that dramatic win over Appleby – in which Walsh was floored in the seventh before Appleby retired after round 10 – has faded and he now wants to dust off his gloves and title.
“Wow, it were a great fight,” said Liam, 12-0 (9), as he recalled that hectic night at London's York Hall. “Now I'm just waiting for my next one and hoping we can all get on the same bill. I just want to get out there. I want to defend my title again, but I don't know if I want another one like the Appleby one. Although I said to my brothers before it that I've always fancied being in a war!
“It was tough against Jon Kays as well because he wanted it so much. I can still remember what it felt like to not be a champion. The challenger has always got that bit between his teeth and it makes them raise their game to take your belt. Jon Kays was really hungry, but so was I – I showed this against Appleby. I was winning comfortable, but I got clipped and got asked questions and came back. Paul said he fancied a rematch and has now had a win [over Stephen Ormond], so let's get out there and do it again.”
The Walsh brothers are followed by a loud, rowdy bunch of Cromer fans. When Appleby put their favourite on the floor the travelling support roared their man to his feet and stayed in fine voice despite the setback. This faith filtered through to the 25-year-old fighter.
“They really do” said Liam, who is nicknamed “Destiny”, when asked if his fans make a difference. “When I was on the floor my fans could have reacted with silence and shock, but they roared me on and dragged me to my feet.”
As for his next move, his guess is as good as ours. He said: “We're still waiting for the call for our next fight. I've had harder spars with my brothers than I've had fights. It gets frustrating because I know how good both my brothers are and would just like to see them given a chance to prove it. I just want to defend my title again and move on.
“We've grown up a bit now. We were young when we first started, you learn the game a bit more and chill out. To start with everyone thought we were a gimmick, three fighting brothers, but my title win helped show we're more than a gimmick and we're just working hard and trying to keep on learning. Michael hasn't got a title yet, but he won the ABAs and had that amateur title winning experience.”
He added: “We also bring variety. People can look at us and decide who they like to watch the most. It is like the Klitschkos in a way – for some people Wlad is the man, others like Vitali. That is a nice thing.”
At this point Ryan interjected. “Or you might not like any of us!” joked the English super bantamweight champion, who lifted the belt in his last fight when beating Liam Richard by 10-round decision at York Hall. “When we first started out we tried to out-shine each other, but now we're just looking to get wins and when one wins all three of us win. It would be nice to fight for another title myself, but I enjoyed watching Liam win and defend his belt as well. When Liam sticks to a game plan he makes fights easy. I'd rather he did that to be fair!”
Just like his twin brother, Ryan is waiting for news of his next assignment to come through. “I'm waiting for a job, we've been waiting long enough and just want to get a fight and venue sorted out so we can box at home,” stated Walsh.
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