Walsh targets title as new year resolution

THERE’S not a moment’s hesitation as Liam Walsh outlines his hopes for 2012: “I want a title - any title,” he says.

The 29-year-old Halifax man revealed that he recently turned down a shot at the British light welterweight crown, a decision that is clearly eating away at him.

Walsh, who has won nine fights out of nine as a professional, was offered a chance to face Ashley Theophane in Peterlee, County Durham on December 10.

“I was offered the fight at four days’ notice when Theophane’s opponent pulled out,” revealed Walsh, who was advised to bide his time.

Hove’s Ben Murphy stepped in for the contest and was stopped by the Londoner in the 11th round of a gruelling contest.

Former amateur rugby league star Walsh gives the impression he would find it difficult to resist a similar opportunity.

“I am just waiting for the phone to ring again and I’ll probably rip the handset off,” said Walsh, who is keen to step up to 10 rounds and move down to lightweight.

“It’s going to be a tough year. The opponents are going to get better and better,” he added.

Walsh, winner of the Sportsman of the Year title in the 2011 Courier sports awards, was a latecomer to boxer having shown his toughness and competitive nature on the rugby field with Siddal in the National Conference League.

An amateur international scrum half who never took a backward step against the biggest of opponents, he believes there is still time to make a serious impact as a boxer.

“At 29 some people say I am old but I don’t feel it. I have always kept myself in shape - I’m still a baby in the sport,” he said.

“Judging from how I was in my first fight to how I am now, I have improved a lot. I am learning how to box.”

Walsh has a big local following.

“The support is from rugby lads across the Halifax area, not just Siddal but Ovenden where I used to play and the Irish lads,” he said.

“They are a big help when you are in the ring.”

Walsh has entered the New Year with not only lofty ambitions but also a wife on his arm. He married Sarah Baume at Bertie’s, Elland last week in the company of several of his boxing mates, including Shuzzy Hussein and Tyrone Nurse.

The choice of a honeymoon was a tricky one. “One of the main reasons I chose skiing was because it will keep me active. I just hope I don’t break a leg!”