‘King’ Callum Walsh will make his New York debut on one of boxing’s biggest stages, The Theater at Madison Square Garden. The ten-round main event on Thursday, November 9 will be broadcast globally on UFC Fight Pass, which is also making its Garden debut for boxing.
“Every fighter aspires to fight at Madison Square Garden,” said Walsh. “It’s a big combat sports week and a dream come true to fight at ‘The Mecca of Boxing’ in New York City ahead of UFC 295. I can’t wait to put on a great show for the fans and my Irish compatriots.”
Ranked No. 16 by the World Boxing Council (WBC), the native of Cork, Ireland returns to battle following a fourth-round stoppage of veteran Juan Jose Velasco in Los Angeles, CA.
“For Callum to be making his Garden debut is a testament to his hard work and talent,” said Walsh’s Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach. “But to be the headliner, in just his ninth pro fight, and during this special week, that is a ringing endorsement from The Garden executives. Villarreal is another big test for Callum. Callum wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Presented by Tom Loeffler’s 360 Promotions, the highly touted 22-year-old Walsh, (8-0, 7 KOs), will make the second defense of his WBC US Silver super welterweight title, against Ismael Villarreal (13-1, 9 KOs), from Bronx, NY.
“I couldn’t be happier for Ismael Villarreal in getting this opportunity to headline at the Garden, it's every fighter's dream growing up in New York,” said Kathy Duva, Villarreal’s Hall of Fame promoter. “He has worked incredibly hard to get to this point, accepted every fight that has been offered to him, and now has a chance to prove that he is a legitimate player at 154 lb. I want to thank 360 Promotions and UFC Fight Pass for this opportunity, and I have no doubt that this will be a very entertaining fight.”
On Sept. 20, Villarreal defeated John Martinez (19-3, 16 KOs), via a TKO 2, ending the Miami fighter’s four-year, eight-fight winning streak. Villarreal scored three knockdowns in round two, forcing the referee to end the fight with two seconds remaining in the round. The combined record of Villarreal’s last six opponents when he fought them was 93-19 – a winning percentage of 83%.
“My dream is to be a world boxing champion and to achieve it I have to eliminate all the obstacles that come my way and Callum Walsh will be no exception,” said Villarreal. “I will be happy to do it in New York in front of my fans, in the city where I was born and have lived all my life. I know that this victory will open the doors for me to compete in a world championship no later than 2024. On November 9, the boxing world will know who Ismael "Maelo" Villarreal is.”
Tom Loeffler has promoted numerous sold-out events at Madison Square Garden including memorable evenings headlined by middleweight icon Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovkin and heavyweight champions Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko.
“Fighting at Madison Square Garden is a huge step for every future superstar in boxing,” said Tom Loeffler. “Callum draws sold-out, celebrity-filled crowds to his events in Los Angeles and we’re expecting another tremendous evening for his New York debut at The Garden.
“Dana White and his team at the UFC continue to be tremendous partners for the growth of Callum and we’re very excited to be part of their tremendous week at Madison Square Garden.”