Callum Walsh contained in the Theatre at Madison Sq. Backyard, the place he’ll face Ismael Villarreal on November 9. (Photograph by Michelle Farsi/MSG Pictures)
From the likes of John Duddy to Irish Olympic hero Michael Conlan, Madison Sq. Backyard has a protracted historical past of inviting Irish boxing stars to high the invoice on the world’s most well-known area on or round St. Patrick’s Day, satisfying followers who prefer to sprinkle in some boxing with the standard revelry surrounding one of the iconic days on New York Metropolis’s calendar.
Promoter Tom Loeffler and executives at The Backyard, alongside none aside from UFC President Dana White, imagine 22-year-old Callum Walsh is the person who will reign over this vacation for the following decade to return.
Walsh (8-0, 7 knockouts) from Cork, Eire, and now residing and coaching out of Hollywood, California, will face Ismael Villarreal as the principle occasion on the Theatre at Madison Sq. Backyard on November 9. The date is important as a result of it’s two days earlier than the UFC takes over New York for the blockbuster Jon Jones vs. Stipe Miocic heavyweight title combat within the large room at The Backyard. The UFC Struggle Move streaming service will carry Walsh’s bout in addition to a bevy of cross-promotional materials throughout combat week for each occasions. White’s Howler Head whiskey can be a sponsor of Walsh, as White has personally taken an curiosity in creating the Irishman into not solely a champion but additionally a family identify in fight sports activities.
“I imagine I may be the brand new face of Irish boxing,” Walsh informed The Ring this week at a small gathering in New York, alongside Duddy and Gerry Cooney and the FDNY boxing staff that got here to assist Walsh the day after he visited the 9/11 memorial and a close-by firehouse that misplaced members that day.
“The time is now to combat in New York Metropolis, as a result of many individuals are following me now and so they know I take actual fights,” Walsh added. “Take a look at my opponents. Nobody with my document or age would combat these guys, and I’m not solely preventing them, I’m additionally knocking them out.”
Walsh’s arrival in America resembles one other one in all Loeffler’s fighters who kicked the door open upon arriving Stateside and located superstardom. Just like Gennady Golovkin, who arrived at Abel Sanchez’s gymnasium with one bag searching for a coach, Walsh innocently walked as much as the famed Wild Card Boxing Membership in Hollywood, knocked on the door and informed Corridor of Fame coach Freddie Roach that he wanted a gymnasium to coach at.
“Freddie stated, ‘OK, however it’s a must to spar proper now,’” Walsh recalled. “After that, he stated, ‘OK, you may come again tomorrow.’” That sparring session was with veteran Blair Cobbs. Since then, Walsh and Roach have been inseparable, and Roach took the teenager to Loeffler and requested for a spot on one in all his fashionable 360 Promotions playing cards in California.
“I liked all the things I noticed with Callum,” Loeffler stated. “I knew he had one thing and his preventing model would make him a crowd favourite instantly. When Freddie stated this is without doubt one of the greatest younger fighters he ever labored with, that’s all we actually wanted to know.”
Loefller and Roach took Walsh to White, who has some expertise constructing Irish fighters into superstars, comparable to Conor McGregor. A partnership was fashioned to characteristic Walsh prominently on UFC Struggle Move and provides him the brightest publicity potential.
“The plan will not be solely to have Callum headline The Backyard each St. Patrick’s Day, but additionally to have him combat right here a number of occasions all year long,” Loeffler added.
“Dana could be very enthusiastic about it, and as soon as we knew UFC was coming to New York in November, we circled this date on the calendar. MSG is prepared for an additional Irish star, so it appears all the things is coming collectively for the November date. Callum is able to carry the flag for Eire, particularly right here.”
Loeffler believes Walsh’s stage of competitors has him additional alongside than different junior middleweight prospects comparable to Xander Zayas, and the potential of matching them up sooner or later is mouthwatering.
“I’ve carried out quite a lot of work with High Rank and respect the work they did to construct Xander, and I’m assured if we hold constructing each their profiles, we are able to have a blockbuster essential occasion sooner or later at MSG,” Loeffler stated excitedly.
All however one in all Walsh’s skilled bouts have been in California, with the lone exception being this previous St. Patrick’s Day in Boston. In August, Walsh and Loeffler have been each in Boston to witness Sean O’Malley knock out Aljamain Sterling to seize the UFC bantamweight title.
“That was the loudest I heard any crowd, ever,” Walsh stated. “Since then, I can not cease interested by what would occur if I get a win like that and so they all cheer for me.”
Most not too long ago, Walsh seemed very spectacular forcing Juan Jose Velasco to quit after the fourth round of their bout this previous August on the Commerce On line casino in California.
“Each time I get within the ring with somebody, I’m attempting to harm them,” Walsh stated emphatically. “It’s both them or me. I pictured the ring as a coliseum and we as Roman gladiators. I watch Troy and Gladiator earlier than my fights, as a result of I really feel it’s like life or loss of life in there.”