Thursday, September 21, 2023  |



Callum Walsh plans to maintain career momentum with impressive win over Juan Jose Velasco

Callum Walsh at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood. (Photo by Brandon Rivas)
Fighters Network

Callum Walsh wants all the smoke.

The unbeaten junior middleweight prospect wants to face the best available competition on his journey to a world title shot.

Standing in his way, Saturday night, will be late-sub Juan Jose Velasco of Argentina. The two will square off in a 10-round bout at the Commerce Casino in Commerce, California, and will stream live on UFC Fight Pass (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).

In his last bout on June 9, Walsh (7-0, 6 KOs), who is originally from Cork, Ireland, and now lives and trains in Hollywood, California, stopped former fringe contender Carson Jones in the fourth round. 

Walsh was originally scheduled to face once-beaten Livan Navarro of Miami, Florida, but Navarro had to withdraw from the fight after suffering an injury during training camp.

Velasco (24-4, 15 KOs) has fought solid opposition throughout his career. In his last bout on May 5, he lost by split decision to once-beaten Flavius Blea. On March 26 of last year, Velasco was knocked out by junior welterweight Elvis Rodriguez.

The 36-year-old will be a significant test for the amateur standout, but Walsh is confident he can come victorious in impressive fashion.

“It doesn’t matter who I fight,” Walsh told The Ring earlier this week. “Every fight is different. Every opponent brings something to the table. I can’t be too comfortable. I believe I can go in there and adapt to any style and do my job.”

The 22-year-old recently traveled to Boston for UFC 292. Walsh made the rounds with the media, giving interviews and attending this past Saturday’s card. 

On March 16, Walsh dropped Wesley Tucker multiple times en route to a second-round knockout victory. The fight headlined a 360 Boxing Promotions card that took place at the near-soldout Agganis Arena in Boston. Walsh hopes to return there, whether as a fan or headlining another card.

Callum Walsh getting laced up by Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach. (Photo: 360 Promotions)

“I love Boston,” said Walsh, who is promoted by Tom Loeffler. “When I was there, people on the street would call out to me. I would definitely love to fight again in Boston. The fans there are amazing. When I fought there, it was crazy energy. I can’t wait to go back there again. First things first, I have to handle business Saturday night.”

Walsh is trained by Freddie Roach, who is famous for working with countless well-known fighters, most notably Manny Pacquiao. Walsh has gotten great sparring against the likes of once-beaten Elvis Rodriguez, unbeaten welterweight Gor Yeritsyan, and unbeaten Raul Curiel.

Training at Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood has allowed Walsh to sharpen his skill-set and become a better overall fighter.

“I’ve spent three years with Freddie,” said Walsh. “I’ve had a wonderful career so far. I get excellent sparring. I’ve gained more confidence. I feel like I hit a lot harder. Sparring the best has helped me a lot. Iron sharpens iron.”

Despite it being just his eighth pro fight, Walsh hopes an impressive victory over Velasco could put him in line to eventually face some of the better fighters at 154 pounds. He hopes to fight twice more this year.

“It all depends on how fast Tom wants to move me. It’s not up to me. I’m ready to face anyone, whoever it is. 

“I’ll just continue to work hard in the gym so that on fight night, it’s another step up for me and I make it look easy.”

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]