Walsh heads north to spar with the best

THE honeymoon really is over for Liam Walsh, who is heading north to spar with a British champion in readiness for his next fight in Halifax.

The unbeaten 29-year-old, who got married between Christmas and New Year and has since been away skiing with his new wife Sarah, is now back in full training for what could be a key year in his professional career.

The former Siddal RLFC ace will bid to make it 10 wins out of 10 in the paid ranks in the top of the bill fight against George Watson at North Bridge Leisure Centre, Halifax on Saturday, March 10.

Walsh is expected to fight at lightweight for the first time in a contest of eight three minute rounds en route to possibly his first title fight.

And Walsh has been boosted by a sponsorship deal which means he can forget about working as an electrician for a year at least.

He has agreed a deal with Elland marketing firm Reactiv Media which will enable him to concentrate full time on his boxing.

“Training on a night was not ideal,” said Walsh, who plans to mix it with the best in the near future.

Walsh will be heading to Glasgow to spar with Ricky Burns, who has been confirmed as WBO lightweight champion after Juan Manuel Marquez moved up divisions.

The 28-year-old Scot had held the interim title following a defeat of Michael Katsidis at Wembley in November.

Walsh will go to Glasgow for two five-day spells and will also hone his skills against the likes of Paul Appleby and John Simpson.

Local fight boss Chris Aston believes the training will do Walsh a power of good and also give him some idea of the standard he must aim for.

Meanwhile, Aston believes the lanky Watson should provide a reasonable test for Walsh, who has a big local following.

Aston said Watson, nicknamed “Razor”, was better than his record of eight wins and two draws from 15 fights suggested. “He’s got a nice jab, is plenty tough enough and comes for a fight,” Aston said.

The show will be the third in 12 months at North Bridge and five other West Yorkshire fighters from Aston’s Huddersfield stable will feature.

They are Halifax’s Scott Gladwin, Shuzzy Hussein and Richard Bitner, Huddersfield’s Ismail Anwar and Dewsbury’s Zahid Kahut.

Some opponents have yet to be finalised, including for unbeaten pair Gladwin and Bitner, who is moving down to light welterweight.

Hussein, who got off the mark at the third attempt in Bradford recently, will continue to gather experience against Walsall southpaw Bobby Wood, who has won four from 16.

Lightweight Anwar has been given every chance of making a winning start as a pro. He has been matched with Kristian Laight from Nuneaton, a veteran of 123 fights and beaten in 111 of them although he has only been knocked out four times.

One fighter not involved at North Bridge is Tyrone Nurse. The 22-year-old from Huddersfield, unbeaten in 20 fights, is taking part in the next Prizefighter event for light-welterweights at Wolverhampton on February 11.

His seven rivals for the £32,000 cheque could include Wolverhampton’s English and British title challenger Dean Harrison, English welterweight champion Adil Anwar and Liverpool’s British lightweight challenger John Watson.

Tickets for the North Bridge event are £30 and £50. They are available from Walsh on 07834 777415 and there is an after show party at Bar 11.