Lewis Crocker [13(7)-0] showed character, cojones and canny in a cracking competitive contest much to the delight of coach Dee Walsh.
‘The Croc’ had to come through a period of adversity to retain his WBO European welterweight crown against the seriously durable Deniz Ilbay on Friday.
After flirting with becoming the first man to stop the former German champion in the third, the exciting prospect was hurt in the fourth.
It was a nervous time for the Belfast puncher’s fans but a few minutes Walsh looks back on with delight.
The young coach was happy to see the fighter used to having things mostly his own way prove he has what it takes to not only navigate rough patches but respond and smooth things out.
“I was very impressed with Lewis,” beamed Walsh when speaking to Irish-boxing.com.
“Everything we went over in camp he executed it brilliantly and he showed that when things aren’t going to plan what type of character he has. He also showed how smart he was, he was clever enough to clinch when he got hurt- and he proved how well he can recover.
“It’s another box ticked,” he adds before discussing the minute between round four and five.
“When he came back to the corner and I was asking him questions he was responding ok, so I knew everything was alright.”
Crocker wasn’t the only one to show real courage during the fight, his opponent was beyond brave and durable.
Despite being continually hurt and in with a naturally heavy-handed foe the German was that keen to find work he was just short of pulling his CV out of his back pocket.
Walsh had warned Ilbay was a better fighter than people were giving him credit for before Friday’s showdown but admits even he was surprised with how durable the challenger was.
“I thought he was very tough. I wasn’t expecting him to be that tough. Working out the game plan for him wasn’t hard, as I saw patterns in his approach but I was surprised at how relentless he was at times. He took serious shots,” he continues before suggesting the punishment suffered might have a longer-term effect.
“I can’t see him ever being the same again, that’s if he ever fights again.”
‘Waldo’ expects to be devising a game plan for Anthony Tomlinson next a fighter the 24-year-old Sandy Row fighter looks set to face in July.
Speaking on what’s next the coach said: “He has to fight a final eliminator for the British title, that’s going to purse bids and I think it has to be fought by July so it’s good that he is kept busy.”