Callum Walsh aims to put his career in high gear starting with Carson Jones on Friday
Callum Walsh does not want pushovers or easy fights.
The unbeaten junior middleweight prospect wants to be challenged and pushed and wants to leave his mark in the sport.
Walsh will face his toughest test to date when he faces veteran gatekeeper Carson Jones on Friday night at the Commerce Casino in Commerce, California. The 10-round bout will headline a Hollywood Fight Nights card and will stream live on UFC Fight Pass (10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT).
The southpaw Walsh (6-0, 5 knockouts), who is originally from Cork, Ireland and now lives and trains in Hollywood, California, has made a name for himself since his pro debut in December 2021. Walsh has annihilated opposition, including stopping Wesley Tucker in his last bout on March 16 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Walsh will face a well-known fighter in Jones, who was once a fringe contender at 147 and 150 pounds. Jones (43-15-3, 31 KOs) has fought the likes of Kell Brook and Brian Rose, both twice, Jesus Soto-Karass, Antonio Margarito, and Alfonso Gomez. He has won his last three bouts against fighters with losing records.
While some fighters in his position may balk at the opportunity to fight Jones and pad their record, Walsh is eager to face Jones and look to score an impressive win.
“You can see from my other fights that I need a step-up,” Walsh told The Ring recently at a recent open workout. “I’ve been putting (my) opponents down, by blowing them out in one or two rounds. It’s not worth my while. If I’m trying to get to that top level, I’m not going to do it fighting in one or two-round bouts. I feel like I do have that top opponent in Carson Jones. It’s a good step-up. It’s a good test for me. If I beat Carson Jones easily, I know I’m ready for the next level. I’m looking forward to it.”
In Walsh’s five knockout wins, none have gone past the third round. He opened his career with three first-round knockouts and the Tucker fight ended in the second round after dropping him multiple times.
Walsh has always had power, including during his stellar amateur career that saw him win multiple national and international tournaments.
“I always knew I had power, even when I was an amateur,” said Walsh, who knocked out once-beaten Delen Parsley in his previous fight on November 3. “I had a lot of knockouts (before turning pro). I was knocking people out in headgears. As a pro, lighter gloves and no headgear, I’m not surprised that I have power in either hand.
The 22-year-old has been working with trainer Freddie Roach, who is famous for training the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, and Johnny Tapia, among others.
Walsh has also been sparring against some of the top fighters in the sport, including once-beaten junior welterweight Elvis Rodriguez, now-retired super middleweight Gabriel Rosado, unbeaten welterweight prospect Gor Yeritsyan, and light heavyweight prospect Umar Dzambekov. Iron sharpens iron, as the boxing phrase goes, and Walsh believes his skill-set has gotten sharper sparring and working alongside these fighters, along with being trained by Roach.
“It’s unbelievable to have Freddie (in my corner),” said Walsh. “It’s a big confidence booster, knowing to have a man like that in your corner, advising and telling you what to do. There’s nothing better than that, really. And do just work with him, to have that knowledge. I had a good amateur background, and to move over here and to work with Freddie and adapting to the pro style has definitely helped me a lot.
“It doesn’t matter what weight. Freddie puts me in there with everybody. Everyone that comes through here (Wild Card Gym), I spar with everyone.”
Walsh’s fan base has grown since his time in the United States. He is immensely popular in his home country of Ireland and hopes to fight there one day.
One of the reasons Walsh has also become popular is having fought on UFC Fight Pass, which has a deal to stream cards promoted by Tom Loeffler, who promotes Walsh. The top prospect has also caught the eye of UFC President Dana White, who has sat ringside at a handful of fights.
Walsh has also done the rounds with the media, including at UFC events. His clean-cut image has boosted his marketability and popularity in each outing in the ring, on both sides of the Athletic Ocean.
“It’s really good. I’m only six fights in and my fanbase has grown like crazy. It’s unbelievable to have these people be a part of my team. It goes to show they are the best in the business. Six fights in and I’m fighting (in) main events ever since my second fight. The Hollywood Fight Nights series has grown every single time. You can see people love it. With Dana (White) involved, the best promoter in the world, anything he touches turns to gold. I’m very happy to have the team that I have.
“My name is 100 percent getting out there. That’s what I want. That’s what we need. Fighters need to be talking about me. They need to know that I’m coming. I need to get fights back in Ireland. My name is growing massively over here in America, but I need to go back home and get the Irish crowd (involved).”
With the immense popularity of Katie Taylor, Walsh believes he will become the next boxing superstar in Ireland. An impressive win over Jones is a step in that direction. He hopes to again fight on the East Coast and later this year in Ireland.
“That’s all I want. I want to be the next face of Irish boxing. It would mean the world to me. I’m a proud Irish man. That’s where I grew up. It made me the man I am today. I worked very hard back there and came over here. I feel like I need to go back and put on a big show in Ireland for those fans.”
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 at [email protected]