Dana-White Backed Boxer Callum Walsh Targets Future UFC Career
Callum Walsh, one of the most exciting young prospects in boxing, has revealed he wants a future career in the UFC – but not before he’s achieved all he can inside the squared circle.
The 23-year-old Irishman has made an impressive start to his pro boxing career, winning all nine fights with seven coming inside the distance. Walsh is backed by a heavyweight team guiding and fast-tracking his career, including seasoned promoter Tom Loeffler, legendary trainer Freddie Roach and his Wildcard gym, and UFC President Dana White.
Walsh’s connection to the UFC is also personal; his girlfriend is UFC star Tabatha Ricci and he was present in Las Vegas at the most recent UFC Fight Night Event.
Additionally, Walsh’s fights are broadcast live on UFC Fight Pass as part of a deal between Loeffler’s 360 Promotions and its Hollywood Fight Night Series and the UFC.
“My main priority, my main goal is boxing,” said Walsh. “Win as much as I can, make my name in the sport, and then I’d love to fight MMA.”
White has made no secret of his desire to get more involved in boxing and is making tentative strides in that direction. He announced last year his plans to launch a dedicated boxing promotions business, although it has been quiet on that front in recent months.
Still, he is actively involved in Walsh’s career, and the Irishman admitted it’s a dream come true to have such an influential figure in combat sports offer him guidance and direction.
“Dana White doesn’t often get involved in boxing, but he’s here, directly involved in my career,” said Walsh. “This is someone I’ve watched on TV for so many years. Now he’s part of my life. It’s like a dream, and I don’t want to wake up.
“I have the best team in the game,” Walsh added. “With a promoter like Tom, and everything he’s done in the sport, I now have the chance to learn from a guy who helped Triple G [Gennady Golovkin]. There are a lot of Irish fight fans, so I can’t even imagine what he has planned for me.”
Walsh will be back in action on March 15 at the Madison Square Garden Theater in New York City – a fight made particularly special as it falls on St Patrick’s Day weekend – when he faces Dauren Yeleussinov over 10 rounds. It will be the second successive fight Walsh has contested at the venue, following his win over Ismael Villarreal last November.
“New York is starting to feel like a second home,” said Walsh. “I can’t wait to see people show up on St. Patrick’s Day. “Cork and New York City are two very, very different places, but everybody’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. I heard the parade is pretty good out there, too. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone wearing green.”
Walsh’s fight with Villarreal was the first true test of the Irishman’s career. He had to absorb some solid punches from the New Yorker, but ultimately his better work over the 10-round fight saw him claim a unanimous points win, and retain his WBC USA silver super-welterweight belt.
Walsh faced some criticism for his performance – a natural consequence of being such a hyped, young fighter – but he insists that it’s all part of the learning curve, and he is determined to apply the experience to his next bout and beyond.
“I always knew that was going to be a tough fight,” said Walsh. “I was fighting him in his backyard, and I knew he wouldn’t want to take a loss at home. I don’t take too much notice of what people say online. No matter what, whether you do something good or something bad, everybody’s going to have something to say.
“It’s taken me a long time to get where I am. I’ve been doing this since I was six years old, developing my skills and boxing abilities. I know I’m still learning and improving, and I’m looking forward to showing some more improvements in my next fight.”