Callum Walsh predicts he'll be the 'Next big thing from Ireland'

Callum Walsh
Callum Walsh /

Callum Walsh will take on Carson Jones in a 10-round super welterweight bout on June 9 on UFC Fight Pass.

For the sport of boxing to continue to sustain itself and grow, it's always in need of a new generation of fighters to take center stage. This upcoming Friday, 22-year-old 'King' Callum Walsh (6-0, 5 KOs) will headline for the sixth time on UFC Fight Pass as part of 360 Promotions "Hollywood Fight Nights." The event will take place at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles.

Walsh will be taking the next step up in competition by taking on former world title challenger Carson Jones (43-15-3, 5 KOs) for the WBC US Silver super welterweight title, which could put him in a position to challenge for a world title sooner than later.

The 60-plus fight veteran has been in the ring with numerous known fighters, including former welterweight champion Antonio Margarito, Jesus Soto Karass, and Alfonso Gomez.

Jones is best known for his two fights with former welterweight titleholder Kell Brook where he gave him all he could handle and nearly stopped him in their first encounter in 2012. Jones is on a three-fight winning streak and has kept himself active last fighting in March.

Walsh, however, isn't intimidated by Jones and expects a competitive match against the veteran. The 22-year-old from Cork, Ireland, trains out of the Wild Card gym under the tutelage of Hall-of-Famer trainer Freddie Roach and the training for this fight has held the same intensity as his others.

"The training hasn't really changed that much," Walsh stated in an exclusive interview with Fansided MMA. "I'm taking this fight very serious. Obviously, this has been maybe a bit of a longer camp, maybe a bit more cardio, considering that it's a 10-round fight. But, yeah, everything is still the same. My training is always very serious and very intense."

California, especially the Los Angeles area, is a hub for all combat sports. In some ways, it has become a proving ground for all would-be fighters. If you can survive the onslaught of competition in southern California, you may have a chance to make it far as a professional. It provides fighters with some of the best sparring possible and the opportunity to improve under pressure while sharpening their skills. Walsh has taken advantage and benefitted from training in the environment.

"Absolutely, I came there when I was 20 years old," said Walsh. "I'm 22 right now, so I've been there for two years. As you know, I came from a big amateur background. Next thing I was thrown straight into the deep end, into a pro-gym with top-level pros, and it has definitely made me a better fighter."

Arguably, Walsh's most significant edge stepping into the ring against Jones will be being guided by Freddie Roach. Roach, a former fighter and trainer of up to 27 world champions, is still one of the best in the sport, and his run through the 2000s with Manny Pacquiao is one of the best the sport has seen. The Hall-of-Fame trainer still choosing to train young fighters such as Walsh is proof that he still has a strong love for boxing and is willing to share that knowledge with the next generation.

"The knowledge that man has is crazy," stated Walsh. "He's been around a long time, he's been around a lot of fighters. He's had a alot champions around and giving me some of that knowledge has benefited me alot. Freddie puts me in there with everybody, no matter what weight, what size. He puts me in there, and we get it it done."

The country of Ireland has made headlines over the last month in boxing with major fights involving Katie Taylor and Michael Conlan. With Taylor and Conlan ending up on the losing end, there is now an added pressure that Walsh has put on himself to make sure that he walks away with an impressive victory over Jones, not just for himself, but for his country. That added weight can sometimes crumble a fighter; however, it can also add a needed motivation that elevates their performance.

Callum Walsh says he's representing Ireland after 'bad week' for Irish boxing

"Every fight, I'm representing my country," Walsh told Fansided MMA. "I know I'm fighting over here, but I do represent Ireland in every fight, especially after this week that Irish boxing has had. It's been a bad week, but there are still a couple of young, up-and-coming players that are making noise.

Walsh continued, "So the importance of winning this fight here on June 9th, winning this belt and bringing it back to my home country to remind people that we still have young fighters that are going to the top. We have young fighters that are still winning. I'm probably the only one over here in America making a lot of noise on this side, so winning this belt on June 9th and bringing it back to my country is very important.

"I've seen a lot of people talking on Twitter and stuff about Irish boxers. "I posted a Tweet, and I said, 'June 9, I'm going to remind the people who we are.' The Irish people we're known for fighting. We're known for being good fighters, so I think, just after the week that Irish boxing has had, people need to be reminded. And that's what I will do on June 9."

The junior middleweight division is unique in that it is one of the few that has one true undisputed world champion Jermell Charlo. Although Charlo hasn't fought in over a year due to injuries, the division is still open, with new contenders arising, such as Charles Conwell, Brian Mendoza, and Israil Madrimov.

At 22, Walsh has time on his side and has the ability to move up to middleweight if an opportunity becomes available. Walsh has confidence in his team and lets them lead and guide the direction his career heads.

"I plan on staying at 154," Walsh told Fansided MMA. "I make this weight very easy right now. But, to be honest, it doesn't matter. If there are opportunities for me at 160 or whatever weight, I will go to whatever weight I have to. It doesn't really matter to me.

"I have a very good team, and so far everything has gone perfectly. The promotion is unbelievable. I have the support of the UFC. With Tom, with Freddy in my corner, with Dana White, I couldn't ask for a better team. So everything is going well, and I trust them 100%."

Walsh has steadily increased his popularity, becoming a draw as a live attraction. If his previous bout in Boston is an indicator, as long as the team he surrounds himself with continues to cultivate an audience for him, he'll see his potential come to fruition. He just has to do his part against Jones to steadily grow his progression in the sport as one of the next potential stars in boxing.

"I feel like I have to put on a good performance," said Walsh. "I know Carson is not going to be a guy that's just going to go in and lie down and take punishment, especially from the face-off the other day. He seems confident. He seems like he's coming to win.

"I think he's on a three-fight win streak. The man, he's coming to win. He's thinks I'm a young kid, so I'm ogoing to have to show hima and show the people that I'm not just some kid, that I'm going to be the next big thing from Ireland."

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