Win, lose or draw, the future is uncertain for Cromer favourite Walsh
PUBLISHED: 06:00 28 February 2020 | UPDATED: 08:14 28 February 2020
© 2013 Mark Hewlett
Michael Walsh has one of the most exciting records in pro boxing - but could walk into the ring for the final time on Friday night.
The Cromer boxer is 35 years old and has won all of his 12 fights within the distance - but knows the stars must align if he is to get the British title shot he dreams of.
He steps through the ropes at The Halls in Norwich to face unknown Tanzanian Amani Bariki, who brings with him a record of 12 wins in 15 outings, and only one defeat.
A first career defeat will end the dream, and even with a win, Walsh knows it is then down to boxing's governing body to put his name in the frame for a shot at the British featherweight title.
It's the latter part which is out of his hands - and which could mean Friday night's top of the bill outing could end up being a farewell performance.
"The situation is, if Michael gets beaten it is all over," said trainer Graham Everett.
"If he wins and doesn't get an opportunity, it could very well be all over.
"This could be the last time we see Michael Walsh in a boxing ring.
"It would be a pity if he didn't get that big opportunity, but he can't hang around and he is not going to hang around.
"I think he should get a shot somewhere - he is definitely worth a go. He will give it everything he has got. He will half fill a venue himself. These things come into the equation. I am sure there is a big promoter out there who will be interested in putting Michael in somewhere. He is happy to chance his arm."
The current British featherweight champion is younger brother Ryan, although it will be boxing's governing body rather than brotherly love which dictates whether he can relinquish to keep the belt in the family.
"It doesn't work like that in boxing," said Everett. "It is down to the board and other people - you can't just say, 'I'm not fighting but my brother is'. There's a system, but in a perfect world that would happen."
Walsh tops a seven-fight card, which also includes Norwich's Liam Goddard and Owen Blunden, Joe Steed, from Wisbech, Bernardo Marime from March, serving paratrooper Connor Vian, who lives in north Norfolk, and Stevi Levy, from King's Lynn.