Walsh has world title ambitions – after Manchester fight

Liam Walsh with trainer Graham Everett at the Kickstop Gym.Picture: SIMON FINLAY.

Liam Walsh with trainer Graham Everett at the Kickstop Gym.Picture: SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Cromer's Liam Walsh is back in the ring this weekend – with a change of opponent, but the same desire to establish himself on the world stage.

Walsh's defence of his British and Commonwealth super-featherweight titles was postponed when opponent Troy James pulled out because of injury.

After a false start with a new opponent, it was confirmed that the unbeaten Walsh will now face Isaias Santos Sampaio at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester on Saturday night.

The vacant WBO Intercontinental Lightweight belt is on the line – and victory could put him bang in the frame for a shot at the world title.

But Walsh is the ultimate pragmatist and will have nothing else on his mind but the big-punching Sampaio, who has blasted out 21 opponents from his 23 wins, with 18 coming inside the first three rounds.

But there is a downside for the Brazilian – he is susceptible to being hit and has lost 10 fights, with nine coming by KO.

Walsh has a 67pc knockout rate on his record so it could be a case that Sampaio will either hit or be hit and could fall early.

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'I'll definitely have to be alert against Sampaio – one false move and it could be over,' said Walsh.

'Sampaio either KOs you or gets KO'd, simple as that, so I won't be taking my eyes off him for a second as he poses a real threat.

'So much is lined up for me after this fight and I'm not far off challenging for a world title so it's vital that I win this Saturday,

'He looks very strong, stocky and can be dangerous with his head.

'I can see the early rounds being quite entertaining if he's knocked out most of his opponents in under three rounds. It could be quite a shoot-out between us, but in my mind I'm set to take him out in the mid rounds.

'With the WBO Intercontinental belt up to be won, I know that a victory will be a massive boost for my rating in the organisation and will push me closer to the world title so there's no way I'm going to let Sampaio wreck them.'

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