While it’s nice to have the good fortune bestowed by the luck of the Irish, super welterweight prospect Callum Walsh relies on old-fashioned hard work in the gym to reach his goal. And perhaps a little help from his influential friends.
Walsh, a 22-year-old native of Cork, Ireland, has been polishing his skills for his upcoming fight on Friday, June 9, in the main event of the 360 Promotions series “Hollywood Fight Nights” in its new home at the Commerce Casino. The card airs via UFC Fight Pass starting at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
Irish Boxing Tradition Is Back
Irish boxing is enjoying a wave of popularity built on a long legacy of accomplishments fueled by Katie Taylor, Michael Conlan, and Carl Frampton. Although Taylor and Conlan suffered recent losses, it doesn’t diminish the enthusiasm for Walsh or the responsibility he feels to perform well on behalf of his home nation.
“I feel like I'm doing what I'm supposed to do. You know, I feel like I'm here for this reason, and I'm the one supposed to carry on,” said Walsh in a recent interview with NY Fights.
“Not the most successful night for Irish boxing, but definitely a good night. Massive respect for Katie Taylor, an Irish legend. Massive respect for everyone who fought (May 27), but I do see this as an opportunity for a young fighter like me to make a breakthrough in Ireland.
“No matter where you go in the world, I think you’ll meet an Irish person,” said Walsh. “We are definitely all over the place. If you're anywhere in the world, and you're Irish, and there's another Irish person doing well, they’re going to support their own. That is the best thing about Irish people. We do support our own. It’s unbelievable, it’s the support that I need.”
The super welterweight puts his undefeated record of six wins with five knockouts against veteran Carson Jones of Oklahoma City (43-15-3, 31 KOs) at the top of the card on Friday, with the WBC USA Silver title at stake.
If you haven't caught Walsh in action, watch his March 16 bout in Boston against Wesley Tucker, which won't take you long. It ended in a second-round stoppage.
Experienced Boxing Hands Like What They See
Walsh trains with famed trainer Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California. Walsh first met Roach as a teenager, eventually making his way from Ireland to Los Angeles, gambling that Roach would take him on.
“I just showed up there; it was never planned. I've been there ever since,” said Walsh. “I think it was meant to be … He hasn't thrown me out yet.” Roach and Walsh are a natural fit with the Irish fighter’s power punching style and heat-seeking knockouts. Walsh has speed behind the power, able to land effectively in combination. He has scored knockouts with a straight left, a right hook, and combinations from both sides.
Promoter Tom Loeffler of 360 Promotions signed Walsh as a professional, and UFC president Dana White, a sponsor and supporter, are also big believers in Walsh's future.
“Dana, he is somebody I've watched on TV for so many years now. I grew up watching UFC. I never really watched boxing,” admitted Walsh.
“And then all of a sudden, I'm here, I'm friendly with Freddie, and I'm signed with Tom. Next thing, it’s UFC Fight Pass. I go to Vegas. I meet with Dana. And it's like, it's crazy,” said Walsh.
White showed up for Walsh’s third pro fight in May 2022, seeing an impressive knockout victory. “He is fun to watch and explosive, he’s got what it takes,” White said in the ring after the win. “I’m excited, and I’m a big fan.”
“We're in talks about doing big things. It's unbelievable to have to have the support,” said Walsh.
No Picking And Choosing for Walsh
With a win on Saturday night, Walsh should crack the top 100 rankings and continue to ascend while the logjam at the top of the division continues. Current unified champion Jermell Charlo has not defended his titles for close to 400 days. WBO interim champion Tim Tszyu fights on June 18 against Carlos Ocampo; WBC interim champion Brian Mendoza is coming off his impressive victory over Sebastian Fundora on April 8.
Walsh considers himself part of the current generation of young champions who aren’t afraid to risk their records by testing themselves against top talent, a model that’s made the UFC successful. While he’s mentioned Mendoza, he isn’t limiting his options.
“To be honest, it doesn’t matter to me who I fight. I don’t look at the division and think, ‘I’d like to fight this guy.’ I trust my team. Tell me when and where. I’ll fight anybody. I’m not going to be one of those people picking and choosing,” insists Walsh.
Dreams With A Dose of Reality
Fortunately for Walsh, he stays in touch with his lifelong friends in Cork, who never let him get too impressed with himself. “It's good to have friends to take you down a notch who've known you before, right? They'll be honest with you. Absolutely annoys me every time I go home – back to reality!” laughs Walsh.
Visits home also reinforce for Walsh his humble beginnings. A recent video posted to Walsh’s social media shows the progression of his gym equipment over the years. Today, he owns a squat rack with his name and personal branding. When Walsh thinks about it, his aspirations were always clear, even if his friends were skeptical.
“I feel like even back in the day, I always had this image in my head, this dream. Even before I went to America, I said to my friends, ‘I'm gonna go there. I'm gonna do this. You know, I'm gonna make it work.’ And now it's working. It worked, and all my hard work is paying off.”
Walsh says he hopes to fight twice in Los Angeles, followed by a fight possibly in New York, and then looks forward to a homecoming fight in Cork on the schedule.
Tickets are still available for Friday’s card from $60 to $200 online at www.360Promotions.us. Doors open at The Commerce Casino on the night of the event at 5:30 p.m.