Norfolk's Ryan Walsh misses out in Golden Contract final
- Credit: Mark Hewlett
Norfolk boxer Ryan Walsh's golden dream came to an end in a tense affair against Jazza Dickens.
Their Golden Contract featherweight final went the full 10-round distance, but it was the man from Liverpool who took it on the three judges' scorecards in Wakefield.
Walsh opened by matching Dickens' southpaw stance in a tight opening round, and there was little to separate them on the second either. Dickens was using his jab, but Walsh prides himself on his defensive work and was able to keep out of trouble.
It was always going to be a fight or tight margins, and so it proved. Walsh landed a lovely body shot in the final minute of the fourth, but Dickens finished the fifth with a snapping right hand to Walsh's head.
Walsh looked less than impressed by a punch to the back of his head as he wrestled Dickens to the canvas in the sixth, while Walsh staggered Dickens momentarily with a right hook in a good seventh round for the Norfolk fighter.
There was little in it as the two men stepped forward for the final round, and while Walsh edged the 10th, the judges scored it 98-93, 97-95, 96-94 in Dickens' favour.
Walsh’s trainer Graham Everett said: “Big thanks to all the well wishes and congratulations to Jazza and his team, career best performance from him at the right time, thankyou to MTK Global, Lee Eaton, Ian Ritchie and Sky Sports for the opportunity to take part in this great competition. It’s been an honour, everyone is healthy and Ryan Walsh will be back. Thanks again, from Team Walsh.”
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Dickens said: "I boxed many ways in this tournament with different styles, and I knew it was my chance to show what I can do.
"This was my moment on Sky Sports. I beat Leigh Wood and Ryan Walsh this year and now I want a world title. I'll have my rewards when I get my world title.
"Sorry to those that couldn't be there tonight. I need to thank my coaches George Vaughan and Derry Mathews for everything they have done for me."