24-year-old super-lightweight talent Jonathan Walsh (4-0, 1KO) answered a Q&A with BBN’s Editor Tim Rickson.
The undefeated pro trains at Everton Red Triangle Gym in Liverpool with head coach Paul Stevenson. Despite reaching 4-0 within his first year, between March 2019 and February 2020, the current Coronavirus crisis means that he will miss his next schedule bout in May.
What did you win in the amateurs?
“I didn’t enter many tournaments, but I went into the ABAs three times, I won the Haringey Box Cup in 2015, went to an Italy Box Cup. Overall, I had 48 fights and lost 12. I always boxed the hardest kids all over the country, I boxed about 10 England kids.
“I started at Higherside ABC, then Kirkby, then Tower Hill, now I’m at Everton Red Triangle with Paul Stevenson.”
Why did you start boxing?
“Just to lose weight to begin with. I started playing football at about 13, then about a year later I started boxing at 14. I enjoyed boxing more than football to be honest, and when I was playing football I was always fighting anyway!”
What boxers have had the biggest influence on your style?
“In the amateurs I used to be quite aggressive, but I’m more central and composed now. I liked watching Manny Pacquiao, but I’ve got Peter McGrail in my gym and Andrew Cain to watch from, they’ve both got unbelievable footwork and I take from them and put in my own style.”
How would you describe your style?
“I’ve changed quite a bit, I’m more central but still got quite an aggressive style, I’m always looking to come forward and hurt them. Just a bit more clever now; you put the little gloves on when you turn pro so can’t walk through them like in the amateurs.”
How did you find the transition from amateur to pro?
“Found it alright, I always felt had a pro style anyway. Genuinely feel I was more suited to the pros. Even as an amateur, I was training like a pro anyway, always trained twice a day, so when I turned over there wasn’t much difference. Doing the strength work is the only difference.”
What professional opponent has taught you the most so far?
“My last one, Chris Adaway. In my last two camps I broke my rib, then tore my rotator cuff, so every camp I haven’t sparred. None have gone smoothly for me.
Then last fight, I thought I boxed well in rounds one and two, third was alright, then last round I felt tired. He came out flying in the third, which gave me a wake up call. Thought I nicked the third, which I probably drew, then lost the final round because I was tired. He was awkward to close down, was quite sharp as well, he’s a live opponent and he comes to have a go, so got to be on your game.”
What advice would you give to your younger self at the start of 2019 when you were just beginning your professional journey?
“Don’t underestimate your opponents, I went in there on my debut, not thinking I was levels above, but thinking I should be beating this kid. If they’re coming to win , they’re going to give you a hard fight, so don’t underestimate anyone.”
What’s the best and worst things about being a pro boxer?
“Best thing, I’d say, is knowing you’ve got a path to follow. In the amateurs, I lost my way a bit, I didn’t get on Team GB and thought, ‘Why am I doing this?’
There’s a path to follow, an opportunity, but in the amateurs you cant always plan like that.
Worst thing is selling tickets. I done 200 on my debut, but didn’t do that much in my last one.”
Are you managing to train still during this pandemic?
“To be honest, I’ve been sick for over a week, I feel a bit better today, just going do a few runs and I bought some kettle bells to do circuits in the garden.”
Three of your teammates – Nick Ball, Brad Strand, Andrew Cain – just signed with Frank Warren, has that given the rest of your gym an added incentive?
“100 per cent! Knowing that the gym is flying, those three have got best backgrounds, Nick is obviously 12-0, knowing we’re in the same company as them and learning off them, so hopefully next year it could be ourselves. They’ve opened the door now for the rest of us.”
What are plans for your career for the rest of this year, providing things go back to normal soon?
“Just to get out as soon as possible, we did have five dates booked this year, but obviously May show is cancelled, so fingers crossed for July, then September and November, but can’t say too much at the moment.
Hopefully I’ll be back out in July, but if not then September. There’s going to be a lot of shows happening when it goes back to normal. I’ll be happy with another two fights this year, so that’ll be three fights in total for 2020.”
When you look above and see unified and Lineal champion Josh Taylor taking over the world, Lewis Ritson closing in on a WBA World title shot, Ohara Davies and Tyrone McKenna about to meet in the Golden Contract final, how hard is it to stay patient when all you want is titles and big fights?
“I haven’t really looked that far ahead, I’m still learning the trade, so don’t want to look far ahead, so I’m taking each fight as it comes.
Each fight is a learning fight for me. Last fight against Chris Adaway, I learnt a lot, it’s just a learning curve for me. I’d rather just concentrate on myself and just keep winning and when the time’s right, I’ll be ready. Probably three years away from that level, so another 10 fights time to be looking at that.
People who know boxing know you have to go through this learning stages, some of the opponents are game, trying to upset you, so I’m just learning the pro game and taking our time and getting used to it.”
Everton Red Triangle Gym, in association with Black Flash Promotions, plan their entire year’s events ahead. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and subsequent ban on all boxing events under the jurisdiction of the BBBofC, May’s event was cancelled. The remaining planned dates are July 4; September 5; and November 14.
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