‘I am still British champion, I will take that title to my grave’ - Ryan Walsh

Ryan Walsh and Chris Bourke sparring - with brothers Liam and Michael at ringside Picture: Mark Hewl

Ryan Walsh and Chris Bourke sparring - with brothers Liam and Michael at ringside Picture: Mark Hewlett - Credit: Archant

Ryan Walsh has been stripped of his British featherweight title – but as one door closes, another one opens.

Ryan Walsh during sparring Picture: Mark Hewlett

Ryan Walsh during sparring Picture: Mark Hewlett - Credit: Archant

The Cromer boxer has been a proud holder of the domestic crown for five years, but admits the British Boxing Board of Control’s decision to take away his title after he refused to give it up, hurts.

If there is a consolation it comes at the end of the month when he fights Jazza Dickens in a mouthwatering clash for the Golden Contract crown - the finale to a hugely successful MTK-organised tournament. If Walsh wins on September 30, then he looks almost certain to get a shot at the IBO or WBO World featherweight title.

“I am still British champion, I will take that title to my grave. I wanted to be British and world champion at the same time,” said Walsh, who hasn’t been beaten since a controversial loss to Dennis Ceylan in Denmark four years ago which robbed him of the chance to win the European title.

“My mission was to take every title I could. I have been the English champion, I have been the British champion, I know I am the uncrowned European champion. The record books can say what they want, but I only have one more mission to fulfil. When I get my world title shot and win the world title. I am all the above because I have done it my way. I don’t need a belt to prove that – I want to be the best and it is my mission to prove that.”

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The Dickens fight has all the makings of a fight of the year contender – the 29-year-old southpaw is five years younger than Walsh and has a 29-3 record. For both men, victory will be career-defining.

“They call it the Golden Contract – I call it the Golden Opportunity,” said Walsh.

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“Jazza is young enough to come again, I’m not. My mission is not to come again. I have been in the darkness, I had two years where I couldn’t get anything, for no reason.

“A fully-prepared me beats every nine-stoner fighter on the planet. The best version of me beats every nine-stoner. I treat every fight like an i-Phone upgrade – you upgrade and get rid of all the glitches and kinks that you didn’t like about the last performance. This is progression and I feel this tournament has shown that, from fight to fight, and I think this is the crescendo. We have done as much as we can do at a certain level in this sport and now I need to push on and this is the fight to prove it.

“Jazza Dickens has only been beaten by world class fighters and that is the bracket I want to be in.”

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