Ryan Walsh will offer brother Liam additional home comforts as the latter bids for IBF super-featherweight title glory on May 20 at London’s Copper Box Arena. While Liam tops the bill challenging touted American Gervonta Davis, Ryan will defend his British 126lb belt against Belfast’s Marco McCullough on the undercard.
The entire line-up scheduled for May 6 at the same venue – of which Ryan-McCullough and Bradley Skeete’s British welterweight defence against Shayne Singleton were a part – has been moved to the huge show two weeks later and tickets for the original date remain valid.
“Now my bill has been moved to May 20, it’s huge,” Ryan told me from his training camp in Tenerife, where he and brothers Michael and Liam have rented apartments with their families since January.
“Never before have we walked into an arena with the opportunity to walk away with so much. It works out well because there are some good ticket-sellers on the undercard, and Liam and me, we’ll bring more fans now. McCullough is huge at the weight, but he’s been trying to move around more on his feet, to box , recently.
Ryan is delighted at the change of date and this offers extra incentive for him to achieve a return to winning ways, having fallen just short against Denis Ceylan – on his opponent’s home turf in Denmark – for the vacant European strap in October, despite dropping his opponent in the opening round. That was only the second defeat of Ryan’s career – the other was also on points, to Lee Selby, now a world champion – and he is well placed to analyse the Dane’s next defence, against another Brit in Commonwealth ruler Isaac Lowe, which will go down on March 17 in Aarhus.
“I think they’ll be fair with him, but I don’t think it will be a similar fight to mine with Dennis,” Walsh opined. “Neither are that aggressive, hopefully they’ll get right at it for the fans but I don’t see that, Dennis will probably get the decision. Either way, we’ll find out a lot more about Isaac, he was my mandatory but he took the European shot, as anyone would. I want Isaac to win, then we can fight with three titles on the line, although part of me wants to bring Dennis to England. Isaac got cheeky on Twitter too so I really want to punch him in the face. Whoever wins I want another shot.”
“My career was flying, but he’s very tough, he has an underlying toughness, and good fitness,” he said, recalling the loss to Ceylan. “I lost my gameplan early after knocking him down. I should have finished him, but he showed toughness and listened to his corner, because he got a right b******ing for standing and fighting with me. Denmark still hurts and someone’s gotta pay for that.”