Freddie Roach has made a world champion pact with Callum Walsh – and is very confident neither will break it!
The Hall of Fame coach saw something in Walsh from the first day he walked through the Wild Card doors asking to spar, and as time passed realized it was something he could nurture.
Indeed, Roach, who has worked with Irish fighters such as Steve Collins, Bernard Dunne, Dean Byrne and Jamie Kavanagh, thinks he can help the LA-based Cork fighter become a special talent.
The respected trainer let the fighter know as much and has promised to help the 22-year-old live his world title dream.
“I think he can go all the way,” said Roach. “People don’t travel halfway across the world for nothing. He told me he came here to be World Champion and I told him, I am your trainer and you will do it.”
A coach backing his charge to achieve success is quite common in Boxing but Roach and the rest of Team Walsh have shown their faith in the Irish prospect rather than just mentioning it.
The Cobh native’s progress to date has been very impressive. He’s been tested early and shoved into the spotlight, topping bills on UFC Fight Pass from as early as fight number two.
This Thursday, November 9, he takes another step in terms of talent and profile as he faces Bronx-born Ismael Villarreal in Theater at Madison Square Garden headline.
Roach is confident the European underage gold medal winner will take the upgrade in platform and opponent in his stride. In fact, he points out they have a plan in place and predicts a stoppage win.
“We keep putting him in with better guys and better guys until he’s at the top,” Roach said, “It’s a great opportunity but we will just keep him calm, and stick to the gameplan. We know how to fight this guy, he’s a pretty good puncher but we know how to take that away and then we’ll finish him.”
Roach, who has Dana White and Tom Loeffler as fellow Walsh cheerleaders, says there are things to work with regard to the standout prospect but suggests the Rebel county man is a fast learner.
“When he came into the gym he was very aggressive – he wanted to spar right away and I like when guys like to spar. He got in there, he did very well. I didn’t put him in with any killers but he got better every time and now he’s probably the best fighter in the gym.
“The biggest thing we’ve worked on is developing his footwork and his punching power. He had around 160 fights at home, so when a guy comes through your doors with that much background it usually means he’s pretty good.
“He’s a good boxer, he boxes very well, he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, he sets up his opponents very well and usually knocks them out. Callum’s the headliner and he’s really excited about going to New York. We went to Boston before and that was fun, it’s my home town. About 6000 people came, it was really good.”