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‘No joke in terms of fighting’ – Coach Walsh assures ‘The Rook’ is more than a colourful character

In terms of a character Ruairi Dalton is as colourful as the brightest of rainbows, but when he comes to fighting he is all black and white assures coach Dee Walsh.

Excitement has been brewing since the cigar-smoking, heavily-tattooed, renowned joker confirmed he would debut on the October 11 card the Ulster Hall.

There is a growing belief the ever growing Irish pro scene will soon be able to boast a unique, interesting and funny personality.

Yet Walsh, whose early retirement is still lamented by many, is adamant ‘The Rook’ is a sportsman first and sporting personality second.

The former Irish champion and stylist of note is confident fans will soon see first hand that the Belfast fighter doesn’t joke when it comes to trading leather.

Indeed, he believes a quick look at his amateur resume confirms as much and he assures his man will be all business inside the ropes.

“There’s a lot more to him than his colourful side,” Walsh, who had an Eric Cantona air to him when he fought, told Irish-boxing.com.

“He’s had over 200 fights and beat some top operators with 6 national titles to his name. He is funny buts he’s no joke in terms of fighting. He won’t be a fighter that just wants to be known as a professional boxer for social media. It’s something he’s done most of his life,” he adds before hinting the 2014 Commonwealth Games quarter-finalist will enjoy the same kind of popularity as Sean McComb.

“One thing about Ruairi is he is as real as it gets. I’ve been best mates with him from day one and what you see is what you get and that’s not something you don’t really see in boxing. It’s one of the reasons Sean McComb is loved is because he’s real.”

Having not competed in some time, Dalton has been working hard on fitness before he revealed he was signing with MTK and fighting for pay on October 11.

Walsh suggests that process may continue for a few more fights as the two-time Ulster Senior champion, who holds a win over new boss Jamie Conlan, acclimatizes to fighting life again as well as the pro approach.

“In terms of shape we’ve taken it slow. Although he has done a lot of work outside the boxing club with a strength and conditioning coach and we’re building a good base before he started proper camp

“Short term the goals are take each fight as it comes, go lighter in weight every time, get fitter and get used to the pro game. The more I coach the more I realise the massive differences between the two. The differences are a lot more than when I fought myself.”


Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com