|Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos|
Liam Walsh retained his commonwealth super-featherweight title, knocking out Jon Kayes in round ten, at The Robin Park Arena in Wigan on Saturday night, in a good domestic dust up.
The fight started off at a good pace as both tried to figure each other out and took it in turns to claim centre ring. Kays with his height advantage tried to box on the back foot keeping Walsh at a distance. But the champion was able to use his good use of angles to land the shots that were to eventually sway the fight in his favor.
The contest began to get heated in the early rounds and the heads were rubbing and banging together and both suffered cuts in this small hall brawl. At the end of the rounds they were exchanging words and no love was lost as they both looked to gain the momentum.
Walsh 24, who had won the title by outpointing Maxwell Awuku in October, in his toughest fight to date, looked well on his way to an early win, when he dropped Kays in the 4th with a peach of a left hook followed by an accumulation of shots that had ‘2 Smokes’ on the seat of his pants and in trouble.
Kays took the count and rose to finish the round. He was written the riot act by coach Bobby Rimmer in the corner and came out in the fifth to get back behind his jab and clear his head to come back well from the knockdown.
The fight was beginning to even up again as Kays recovered his senses. Walsh changes his tactics well during a fight and at times switched southpaw to good effect landing smart shots to rattle Kays.
But the Manchester challenger began to find his feet in the fight and in the 8th launched a big right hand that crashed off the champion, shaking him to his boots, Walsh was hurt as Kays looked to capitalise. Walsh saw out the session and was looking inspired and stronger and the fight looked to have taken an unlikely twist, Kays blew Walsh a kiss at the end of the round to signal his resolve.
The turn around was not to last though and in round 10 Walsh came out with a new intent, he caught Kays early on and as the challenger covered up, Walsh switched to the body with a right and left hook that took everything out of Kays who fell face first in pain to be counted out by referee Victor Lochlan.
Walsh in just his 11th fight, 8 KO’s came through a tough first defence well, showing good skills, stamina and heart, proving he can come back from being hurt to up the pace and get back into a fight to prevail.
Kays (15-2, 5 KO’s) can be proud of his efforts though and will probably take a lot from this fight and he can certainly come back to box another day. Walsh will move on from here, but talks of a world title fight with WBO champion Ricky Burns are a little premature at this stage and it would be nice to see him in a few more domestic and international fights, before moving on to world class, but Walsh is a prospect to keep an eye on.
By Chris Maylett