The boxing world has been no stranger to Irish boxers over the years, and one of the most revered fighters in Ireland’s history is Stevie Collins. Collins, who beat British legends Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn twice apiece during a remarkable run in 1995 and 1996, was the last Irish fighter trained by Freddie Roach who boxed in Boston during his rise as a prospect. Now, Roach has comparable hopes for another rising Irish star, Callum Walsh, who will headline a card at Boston University’s Agganis Arena.
Walsh, a 22-year-old junior middleweight from Cork, has an impressive record of 6-0 with five knockouts. He will face Wesley Tucker, a southpaw from Toledo, Ohio, in a 10-round main event that will be streamed by UFC Fight Pass. Roach, who has been training Walsh since he arrived unannounced at Roach’s famed Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, California two years ago, believes that Walsh has what it takes to become a special fighter.
“I put him in with guys who come to fight,” Roach said. “The thing is, I don’t want my guy chasing a guy for 10 rounds. I want a fight. I want my guy to show that he can punch. I know our opponent can punch, also, so we’ve gotta be careful about that. But I want him to go out there and fight the best fighters he can fight.”
Walsh, who wanted to represent Ireland at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted his plans, has been sparring with some of the best fighters at Wild Card Boxing Club, and Roach believes that training in that competitive environment has accelerated his development as a fighter.
“He comes to work every day, works hard. The only problem I had with him so far is that he didn’t really believe in roadwork. And I said, ‘Don’t you do roadwork?’ The kid said, ‘No,’ so I said, ‘Well, you do now.’ Since he started doing roadwork, he’s a whole different person. I changed that with him, so that’s been a great improvement. I think this kid can be something special.”
With his dangerous left hand and growing confidence, Walsh has the potential to make a big splash in the boxing world, and Roach is excited to show him off to the fans in Boston.
“It’s gonna be a lotta fun,” Roach said. “He’s an Irish fighter, so it reminds me of back when Stevie Collins was back there and made a big splash at that time. Now he’s the new Irish kid and I can’t wait to show him off, because he’s a very good prospect.”