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European medallist Dean Walsh turns pro

European bronze medallist Dean Walsh has turned professional.

The Wexford welterweight has signed a deal with Boxing Ireland Promotions and will now start punching for pay.

The 26-year-old makes the move after an extended period of indecision and deliberation.

Walsh, from the St Ibar’s/Joseph’s club, won four consecutive Irish titles across light welter and welter, winning 64kg European bronze in Bulgaria in 2015.

The Wexford Town welter came close to Olympic qualification but saw his chances snuffed out following a debated split decision loss in qualification to Azerbaijan’s Lorenzo Sotomayor – who went on to win silver at the Rio Games.

Recently finding himself behind young talents Kieran Molloy and Aidan Walsh in the pecking order, Walsh will now make an assault on the pros.

The nephew of former Irish head coach Billy has linked up with the team behind the popular Celtic Clash series and will box on the Irish domestic scene as soon as it resumes.

Popular in Wexford and possessing a gritty pro style mixed with his amateur pedigree, the charismatic Walsh is a big addition to the scene and the Boxing Ireland stable.

New manager Leonard Gunning said that “we’ve been tracking the progress of Dean Walsh for probably three or four years. We went to London to watch him compete in the Haringey Box Cup and I was blown away with his ability from what I saw over there.”

“It was such a style that I said ‘this guy is not suited to the amateurs. Although he’s achieved so much in the amateur ranks, when saw his movement and his power in the ring in London I just thought ‘this guy’s got to turn pro’. The sky is the absolute limit with him.”

Celtic Clash 11 is being provisionally targeted for the end of this year and it is assumed that Walsh will feature here – although, with the global situation, the entire boxing schedule for 2020 is unconfirmed.

Walsh is the third former top amateur to turn pro in recent days following the moves of Tiernan Bradley and Tony Browne last week.

So far in a COVID-affected year for Irish boxing, just Ryan O’Rourke and Rhys Moran have debuted.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie