Dean Walsh goes into 2017 with a reaffirmed knowledge that he is the man to beat in Ireland at light welterweight.
The Wexford 64kger is looking to start the Tokyo Olympic cycle strongly following a frustrating 2016 that saw a dubious decision and a hand injury block his path to the Rio Games.
Now Walsh faces battle to retain his National Elite title for a fourth year running, with plenty of big names looking to usurp him and stake their claim in what is a big year internationally. The Yellow Belly admits to initially feeling a bit of added pressure ahead of his return to the ring next month, he is now feeling confident in his position as ‘the man’ at the weight.
Walsh spoke to Irish-Boxing.com recently and described how “before Christmas I thought there would be added pressure, because the hand wasn’t 100% either, but I realised – I’m the champion going into the weight and all these guys are here to beat me.”
“I’ve got that clear now and I think, at the end of it all, it has motivated me more, drove me on, and has made me train harder.”
The Senior Elites will be a huge hurdle, with the likes of Sean McComb and Wayne Kelly also vying for the spot, but Walsh is confident of ruling the roost at home before claiming international honours.
The St Ibars/St Josephs 22 year old outlined how “I have many targets. I want to win four in a row in the Elites first off and then hopefully get my second major medal. For every boxer, being a European and World champion would be a dream come true, and I hope my dream does come true.”
Joe O’Neill and Gavan Casey look ahead to 2017 in episode 1 of The Irish Boxing Show