Twenty-one-year-old Cork fighter Callum Walsh was taken the distance for the first time in his burgeoning professional career earlier today in California but still achieved a shut-out unanimous win.
stand-out underage amateur champion Walsh has made a big impact since moving to the east coast of the US where he made his professional debut last December.
Before a sell-out and partisan Irish crowd in the Quiet Country Club, Montebello the southpaw outclassed 38-year-old journeyman Benjamin Whitaker over six rounds in a super-welterweight bout.
Having won his three previous contests inside the first round, Walsh banked valuable ring-time. The three ring-side judges all scored the fight 63-50 in his favour.
The Irishman knocked down Whitaker in the first round, but he survived and showed his ring-craft to deny Walsh a knock-out victory.
Even though he is still a novice Walsh has already caught the attention of three of the biggest hitters in combat sport.
He is trained by Freddie Roach after impressing in sparring on his first visit to Roach’s famous Wild Card gym in Hollywood.
Tom Loeffler, who guided the careers of world champions Gennady Golovkin and Wladimir Klitschko, is promoting his fights while the UFC President Dan White is involved as well. He was ringside for the fight which was streamed on the UFC Fight Pass channel.
“it’s good to go the distance with a good-enough opponent. I hurt my left hand with the first punch I threw,” said Walsh who according to Loeffler is likely to be back in action in an eight-round bout in October.
Meanwhile at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham Northern Ireland will have seven boxers in semi-final action tomorrow.
Tokyo Olympian Michaela Walsh who already made history by becoming a three-time Commonwealth medallist while her younger brother Aidan, a bronze medallist at the Tokyo Olympics, is now guaranteed at least a bronze medal at these championships.
The squad’s other high profile fighters include World lightweight champion Amy Broadhurst and European silver medallists Dylan Eagleson. Twenty-year old Jude Gallagher has emerged as a new star in Birmingham while Éireann Nugent has completed a fairy tale like comeback to reach the last four after an 11-year break from the sport.
The team’s Performance Lead John Conlan said Northern Ireland boxers had a remarkable track record at the Commonwealth Games – prior to the 2022 Games they had won 13 gold, 19 silver and 20 bronze medals. The current squad had targeted building on that.
“Members of this team have contested strongly at European and World level already this year, and have taken part in training camps in England, Italy and our own highly successful 10-nation Commonwealth games camp in Jordanstown, in addition to their on-going High Performance training.
“I’d like to recognise, too, the contribution of club and club coaches to boxers’ training in advance of these Games, “ said Conlan.
The schedule for tomorrow’s semi-finals is:
70kg Eireann Nugent v Rosie Eccles (Wales), 11:45am:
50kg Carly McNaul v Teddy Nakimuli (Uganda), 2.30
54kg Dylan Eagleson v Matthew McHale (Scotland) 3.00
60kg Amy Broadhurst v Cynthia Ogunsemilore (Nigeria) 3.45
71kg Aidan Walsh v Garan Croft (Wales), 4.30
57kg Jude Gallagher v Keoma-Ali Al-Ahmadieh (Canada), 7.15
57kg Michaela Walsh v Phiwokuhle Sbusisiwe (South Africa) 7.30