Liam Walsh faces big step up in world title fight

Published On Monday, May 1, 2017By British Boxing News

British super featherweight champion Liam Walsh gets his first world title shot next month in London where he is set to meet IBF holder Gervonta Davis.

Walsh is unbeaten in 21 professional bouts and has held the British, European and Commonwealth belts in the division.

The man from Cromer earned the opportunity to fight for the IBF belt following a unanimous decision victory over Russia’s Andrey Klimov last October. He has been priced up as a 3/1 underdog in the betting to beat Davis for his maiden world title.

Davis has only had the 17 fights as a professional, where he has a huge knock-out strike rate: 16 of his 17 victories have come via stoppage. He stepped up in class to face the then unbeaten Jose Pedraza at the Barclays Center in New York back in January. The challenger was the outsider in that contest but had too much power for the champion and stopped him in the seventh round of the bout.

The IBF champion is promoted by Floyd Mayweather, who believes his fighter is not only the best super featherweight in the world, but he also rates his man as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in boxing today.

This contest is set to be Davis’ first fight outside of the USA and the opening defence of the crown. He is the 11/50 favourite with 888sport to retain his belt and potentially set up a unification clash with either the WBA champion Jezreel Corrales, WBC holder Miguel Berchelt or Vasyl Lomachenko, who holds the WBO belt.

Lomachenko, however, may consider vacating his title later this year to step up a division and meet Terry Flanagan at lightweight. The Ukrainian won a world title after just his third professional bout when he beat Gary Russell Jr to the WBO featherweight title back in 2014.

Lomachenko had three defences of his featherweight crown before moving up to super featherweight. The former Olympic gold medallist continues to break records in boxing and is looking to become a three-weight world champion in the near future.

Credit: Tammy J. via Twitter

Flanagan has held the WBO lightweight title ever since his second round victory over Jose Zepeda in Manchester in July 2015. The Manchester boxer has had five successful defences since then, with his most recent win coming over Petr Petrov earlier this month.

Frank Warren, Flanagan’s promoter, has been searching for the big fights in the lightweight division for his boxer but has been unable to secure his fighter a unification contest just yet. Warren made an offer to Anthony Crolla when he held the WBA crown, but he has since lost to Jorge Linares.

If Warren can agree a deal with Lomachenko’s team, that fight is likely to take place in London, which would be the Ukrainian’s first fight here since he won gold at the 2012 Olympics. If Lomachenko does not step in weight, though, Warren will go back to the drawing board in the bid for a big fight for his man in 2017.