Tom Loeffler sees a bright future for precocious Irish prospect Callum Walsh
Callum Walsh is not the typical 21-year-old prizefighter, in or out of the ring. The junior middleweight prospect fights like a seasoned pugilist and does interviews like someone who has been in front of a camera for years.
The former amateur standout from Ireland has only fought three times in the pro ranks but he’s already caught the eye of boxing insiders, and the top dogs from other sports, including UFC boss Dana White.
Walsh will put his unbeaten unbeaten record on the line Thursday night when he faces gatekeeper Benjamin Whitaker at the Quiet Cannon in Montebello, California. The six-round bout will headline a 360 Boxing Promotions card (streamed live on UFC Fight Pass, 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT).
At Wednesday’s weigh-in, both Walsh and Whitaker weighed in at 154 pounds.
Walsh (3-0, 3 knockouts), who is originally from Cork, Ireland and now resides in Long Beach, California, was a six-time Irish national champion before turning pro on September 10. All of his fights as a pro have taken place at the Quiet Cannon, where partisan crowds have cheered his every cross to the head, hook to the body, and knockout win.
Walsh’s promoter Tom Loeffler knows all about building a fighter. Loeffler worked with heavyweight champions Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, three-division champ Shane Mosley, WBC featherweight titleholder Kevin Kelley, former welterweight contender Oba Carr, and current unified middleweight titleholder Gennadiy Golovkin.
“Callum has built a fan base here in Southern California,” Loeffler told The Ring on Tuesday morning. “All of the tickets for Thursday night have sold out. The only thing available is the limited amount of standing room-only tickets.”
Walsh is coming off a knockout win over Luis Garcia, who also entered the fight unbeaten, on May 12. None of Walsh’s fights have gone past the 2-minute mark of the opening round, so it’s hard to pin down his boxing style but Loeffler says it is the intangibles that make him stand out.
“It is hard to tell from his three fights (thus far), but from what he has accomplished as an amateur in Europe and who he sparred against as a pro, he has great boxing ability,” said Loeffler, who has promoted Hollywood Fight Night cards over the past five years. “Callum has a lot of poise and carries a sense of maturity in the ring. I watched him spar (welterweight contender) Vergil Ortiz Jr. and I was very impressed. It was great work for both fighters.
“His style fits perfectly for (trainer) Freddie Roach. He’s a southpaw puncher and if there’s anyone who knows about southpaw punchers, from working with Manny Pacquiao, it’s Freddie. Freddie believes he is ready for these types of fights against the likes of Benjamin Whitaker. He carries himself great, in and out of the ring.”
Loeffler attributes Walsh’s rise in popularity, whether from boxing fans in Southern California or those in Ireland, due to his ability to market himself to the media. The soft-spoken Walsh made time for media members at Saturday’s open workout.
Dana White was ringside for Walsh’s knockout win on May 12.
Loeffler believes Walsh will continue to gain more fans and there is a possibility he could fight across the country on the East Coast as well.
“Callum has been at UFC events, including recently in New York City,” said Loeffler. “He’s been at UFC headquarters in Las Vegas. The media know who he is and they seek out interviews. Callum understands this business and makes himself available to the media, whether it’s boxing or MMA.
“Madison Square Garden has told us they are interested in working with us in doing a show there. I would imagine Boston with the large population of Irish-Americans would be interested as well. The potential is there for Callum. This fight (against Whitaker) could tell us a lot about what is next for him.”
Whitaker (15-8, 3 KOs), who resides in San Antonio, Texas, has fought several unbeaten fighters and prospects with mixed results. The 38-year-old has defeated four unbeaten fighters, including D’Andre Smith and Zsolt Daranyi in 2020. He has lost his last four bouts.
In a clash of unbeaten featherweights, Omar Cande Trinidad (8-0-1, 6 KOs) of Los Angeles will square off against Javier Padilla (7-0-1, 5 KOs) in a six-round bout. Padilla, who resides in Indio, California, has not fought in almost four years.
Cem Kilic (16-1, 11 KOs) of nearby Sherman Oaks by way of Germany will face Marco Delgado (7-3, 5 KOs) of Turlock, California in a six-round super middleweight bout.
In lightweight action, Chelsey Anderson (5-0, 2 KOs) of Yorba Linda, California will square off against Kazakhstan’s Aida Satybaldinova (6-2-1, 2 KOs) in an eight-round bout.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing