Callum Walsh to face Ismael Villarreal on November 9 at MSG
Callum Walsh will take his talent and unbeaten record to ‘The Mecca of Boxing’ for his next prizefight.
The unbeaten junior middleweight will face once-beaten Ismael Villarreal on November 9, 360 Boxing Promotions announced Monday afternoon. The 10-round bout will take place inside The Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden in New York City and will stream live on UFC Fight Pass.
The clash between Walsh and Villarreal will take place two days before UFC 295, which will also be at Madison Square Garden.
“Fighting at Madison Square Garden is a huge step for every future superstar in boxing,” said Tom Loeffler, who promotes Walsh. “Callum draws sold-out, celebrity-filled crowds to his events in Los Angeles and we’re expecting another tremendous evening for his New York debut at The Garden.
“Dana White and his team at the UFC continue to be tremendous partners for the growth of Callum and we’re very excited to be part of their tremendous week at Madison Square Garden.”
Walsh (8-0, 7 knockouts), who is originally from Cork, Ireland and now lives and trains in Hollywood, California, last fought on August 26, stopping Juan Jose Velasco of Argentina after the fourth round. In his previous fight on June 9, Walsh stopped former fringe contender Carson Jones in the fourth round.
The 22-year-old has fought once on the East Coast. That took place on March 16 at the Agganis Arena in Boston, Massachusetts. Walsh dropped Wesley Tucker multiple times before ending matters in the second round.
Trained by Freddie Roach, Walsh hopes to capitalize on the momentum of beating modest opposition and continuing to make a name for himself in one of boxing’s most competitive weight classes.
“Every fighter aspires to fight at Madison Square Garden,” said Walsh, an amateur standout in Ireland before turning pro in December 2021. “It’s a big combat sports week and a dream come true to fight at ‘The Mecca of Boxing’ in New York City and ahead of UFC 295. I can’t wait to put on a great show for the fans and my Irish compatriots.”
Villarreal (13-1, 9 KOs) should have a significant following on fight night as he resides in The Bronx. In his last bout on September 20, Villarreal dropped John Martinez three times en route to a third round knockout victory.
The 26-year-old previously fought on February 27, losing by split decision to Andreal Holmes, Jr. in a clash of unbeaten junior middleweights. Villarreal may be the underdog going into the Walsh fight, but is confident he has the skill-set to pull off the upset win.
“My dream is to be a world boxing champion and, to achieve it, I have to eliminate all obstacles that come my way and Callum Walsh will be no exception,” said Villarreal. “I will be happy to do it in New York in front of my fans, in the city where I was born and have lived my life. I know that this victory will open the doors for me to compete in a world championship, no later than 2024. On November 9, the boxing world will know who Ismael ‘Maelo’ Villarreal is.”
Main Events promoter Kathy Duva agrees.
“I couldn’t be happier for Ismael Villarreal in getting this opportunity to headline at The Garden, it’s every fighter’s dream growing up in New York,” said Duva. “He has worked incredibly hard to get to this point, accepted every fight that has been offered to him, and now has a chance to prove that he is a legitimate player at 154 pounds. I want to thank 360 Promotions and UFC Fight Pass for this opportunity, and I have no doubt that this will be a very entertaining fight.”
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]