Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Fighting barber Walsh aims to be a cut above

Belfast light-middleweight Dee Walsh is aiming for his eighth win when he boxes at the Devenish Complex on Saturday evening

Dee Walsh has a quality that every promoter yearns for and it has nothing to do with how well he throws a left hook — the Belfast man sells tickets so he’s a man in demand.

A novice professional with five straight wins on his record, Walsh supplements his boxing career with part-time work as a barber in Eamonn Rosbotham’s shop in Smithfield market.

The light-middleweight, who won the Irish under-21 title, felt it was time to turn professional when missing out on the Commonwealth Games in 2010, hooking up with Irish manager Gary Hyde and coach Tony Dunlop at Belfast’s Kronk Gym.

The likeable 22-year-old has already built up a good fan base and they will be out in force again when he returns to the ring on December 1 at the Odyssey Arena.

“Working in Eamonn’s barber shop you get to meet a lot of people, the craic’s good and while I’m cutting their hair they ask me about my boxing, when I’m fighting next — and they want to buy tickets when I’m boxing,” said Walsh.

“It’s great to have them behind you and that’s the way it is in west Belfast, people want to support you and see you do well and so far I’m pleased with how I’m going.

“The one thing I want though is a few more knockouts on my record and I hope to start putting that right on December 1.

“The pro game isn’t easy, I’ve had three or four fights fall through and I’ve had to take a few fights at short notice, boxing guys a lot heavier but when they’re around the same weight as me you’ll see me stop a few more.”

Belfast-based Lee Murtagh is the current Irish light-middleweight champion, while the man he defeated to win the title, Joe Hillerby, is also on the Odyssey bill against Phill Fury — cousin of top of the bill Tyson Fury who faces hard American Kevin Johnson.

Walsh hopes his apprenticeship can be accelerated in 2013, leading to a shot at Murtagh on the supporting bill to Carl Frampton’s European title fight with Kiko Martinez back at the Odyssey in February.

Walsh, who started his amateur career at the St Agnes club, added: “I don’t want to put Lee Murtagh down but if I could get an eight rounder then I would be confident of stepping up and facing Murtagh in February.

“I know that I have a lot to learn and the one thing I have learned is that in the pro game you need a lot of patience,” he said.

“But I am enjoying the pro game more than the amateurs because in the amateurs if you lose the first round then it’s very hard to come back.

“The pros is different and I’m loving it and I hope to give my best performance yet at the Odyssey.”

Chris Eubank jnr is also on the bill and it had been mooted that he was to have fought Eamonn O’Kane but it is understood that the Englishman’s camp turned it down.

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