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Ryan Walsh vs. BBBofC: “They’re trying to do me wrong”

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The MTK Global Contract tournament final with Jazza Dickens on September 30th isn’t the only battle on the horizon for British featherweight champion, Ryan Walsh.

As he nears the five-year anniversary of winning the British championship he claimed in September of 2015, the longest-reigning domestic champion is on the verge of being stripped by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) of a title he’s been extremely proud to hold and does not wish to lose outside the ring.

“I’m very, very disappointed with the British Board,” the thirty-four year-old said. “I’ve been the champion for five years and I refuse, point blank, to lose it out of the ring. I had to win it in the ring and go through a lot.”

Two years prior to his crowning moment as a pro, Walsh took then-champion Lee Selby twelve rounds in a competitive bout. He felt he deserved another crack at the Lonsdale belt following Selby’s vacation of the gold not long afterwards.

“I just gave him twelve rounds and I thought I gave a good account. The judges’ scorecards were crap,” he says with disdain. “He beat me by two or three rounds. Then the BBBofC tell me I need a fight before I can fight for it again. I win that fight and they said I need another. In the meantime, Josh Warrington becomes champion and he offered me a fight on four weeks’ notice. Everyone knows you can’t even make the weight in four weeks if you’re doing it correctly. I don’t cheat, so I can’t make the weight in four weeks. When I finally made his mandatory – he vacated. He vacated in February and we (Samir Mouneimne) didn’t fight until September. I finally get my shot and I finally win it.”

Following that tight victory over Mouneimne, Walsh impressively stops Darren Traynor, James Tennyson and Marco McCullogh; draws with Isaac Lowe and scores decision wins over Reece Belotti and Lewis Paulin across six successful championship defences.

Last year, in search of big fights and big money, the #7 ranked IBO contender chose to join the MTK Global Contract tournament. All tournament bouts have been scheduled for ten-rounds meaning his British title would not be up for grabs.

“I’m now in this situation where, just before Covid, they made Reece Mould my mandatory. No problem with that, but all the people in this tournament are better than the mandatory. Because they (BBBofC) didn’t back the tournament, they’re not with it. It’s really annoying me. Then I get a letter saying: ‘If you don’t vacate – we’re looking to strip you’ – on what grounds? I’ve never, ever pulled out of a fight in my life and I’m not going to start with Reece Mould.”

What compounds the misery of being asked to vacate, is the fact that two mandatory challengers since late 2018 chose not to fight Walsh and he was the one, as champion, missing out on competing for and proudly defending his gold. He feels that should be factored into the current situation – not to mention the pandemic that stopped boxing completely throughout spring and early summer.

“That’s the bit that really annoys me,” he remarked. “They know better than anyone. I had signed a contract for Jordan Gill. He decides to fight the Mexican and got beat. Before Jordan Gill, I had Isaac Lowe, who went to fight unknown nobodies for WBC baubles that no-one cares about.”

If Walsh wins on September 30th, he’ll very likely find himself knocking on the door for a shot at the IBO or WBO World featherweight crowns. Despite that, he’s desperate not to be stripped of his domestic title.

“They’re trying to do me wrong and I’m not having it. I’m not just going to play ball with them when it was so hard to get it.”

“I’m not having them dictate and be out of order.”


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