Dee Walsh opens up about his return to coaching
If you take the old adage that most skilled athletes make the worst coaches as gospel you’d be forgiven for thinking Dee Walsh wouldn’t be suited to manning a fighter’s corner.
Such was the talent of ‘Waldo’ that most lament what looks like a premature retirement back in 2015. The Belfast light middleweight called it a day after 12 victories and with a shot at then World Champion Liam Smith rumoured to be around the corner.
Some ardent Walsh fans hoped the gloves would be un-hung and re-laced, but ultimately accepted the fact he may never been seen again and bemoaned the loss of a pure and ‘natural’ talent.
However, ‘Waldo’ can be found back in the gym again, but holding pads not hitting them.
Walsh has been tempted back to sport and is now deep into a training camp with upcoming debutant Stephen Webb.
Considering Walsh appeared to work off a superior instinct and possessed the kind of talent you can’t teach, there will be those that argue he will find it frustrating working with fighters who may be unable to learn what just came naturally to him.
The fighter turned young trainer disagrees and points out he was much a student of the game as any fighter.
The boxing barber claims his talent was developed rather than a gift from God and his style was cultivated by watching hours of footage of boxing’s hit and not be hit masters.
“The way I fought you would think there was no script and that I was naturally talented but in all honesty every step I made it was all scripted beforehand, rehearsed, and mastered,” Walsh told Irish-Boxing.com.
“The old barbershop I worked in there used to be a TV with the old VHS built into it, I would have had the old tapes with people like Willie Pep fighting people like Saddler and Robinson against Bascillio and Lamotta and so on. Then I got home and on YouTube I used to watch Pernell Whitaker, [Roy] Jones and Floyd Mayweather.
“I watched every step they made in a certain part of the ring, at certain distances away and I’ve tested it in my own career so I know for a fact it works and I know what I’m talking about.”
The returning Walsh had s short-lived spell working alongside Ray Ginley last year in the corners of fighters such as Lewis Crocker and Anto Cacace but work commitments kept him from committing fully to a large stable.
The West Belfast man has had a love hate relationship with the sport over the years but claims he loves training.
The teaching element really appeals to Walsh who is adamant that coaching provides more reward than fighting.
“I absolutely love it,” Walsh continued.
“Teaching fighters is what I love, teaching them a system that I know works and watching them execute it is one of the best feeling, I enjoy it more than boxing myself.”
The fighter currently benefiting from Walsh’s knowledge is ‘Spider’ Webb. The well-supported St James man was wary of working with the fighter who debuts on the JB Promotions bill in Dublin on July 7th but has been won over and is hopeful the lightweight can forge out a good career.
“At the start I was very sceptical of him because he’d tell you himself he’s messed about in the past. He came and went but he’s impressed me in every way so far.”
“I witnessed him go through probably the toughest training session I’ve ever seen put together by my friend and his strength and conditioning coach Joe Keenan and was in again this morning ready to go again.”
“He has listened and done everything I asked of him and has executed the system we have been working on so it’ll be interesting to see how far he’ll go.”
When Walsh did call it a day he confirmed to Irish-Boxing.com that business end of the sport didn’t sit right with his Christian beliefs.
Walsh claims money element doesn’t really affect him as a coach and he can separate the two without a struggle of conscience.
“That was one of many reasons I retired. The corruption that goes on in it also played a part, the weight loss, the depression, becoming a Christian and not having the desire to be champion anymore. I have found peace but when it comes to it being all about money thankfully as a coach you don’t have to deal with any of that.”
“I can just do what love and I’ll just take it as it comes. Although I want Stephen to win, I’m not fussed in whether I’m successful or not – I just love helping people and training people,” he continued before confirming possibly for the seventy-seventh time this week that he isn’t returning to fight.
“Everyday I get asked when am I coming back and even Stephen gets asks ‘is Dee making a comeback’ but I’ve no interest, I love doing what I’m doing at the minute and I’m really happy.”