After another impressive win for light-middleweight sensation Dee Waldo Walsh, DBB’s Steve Wellings had a chance to catch up with header trainer Gerard McCafferty
By Steve Wellings
Highly-touted Irish boxing talent Dee Walsh is ready to take the light-middleweight division by storm. After claiming the Irish crown in comprehensive fashion last month the 24-year-old puncher, now 10-0 (4 KO), is relishing life both in and out of the ring. On the night, Walsh’s title-winning game plan was expertly constructed by head trainer Gerard McCafferty. Despite having little in the way of video footage to study their taller foe (Nottingham’s Terry Maughan who was blown away in two rounds) Gerard remains confident that his boxer possesses the talent to work things out and adapt in any situation.
“We had no footage of him to see how he boxed so we weren’t sure what to expect,” said McCafferty. “Maughan said that an Irish title was like a world title to him and he wasn’t coming here for a payday. I was speaking to [Maughan’s trainer] Carl Greaves the other day and he said the same thing, that Terry was coming over to have a go and test Dee. He did not get a chance to test him because Dee was just too smart and too quick.”
McCafferty views every fight as a learning experience for his young charge. Dee has been enjoying highly competitive sparring session with the likes of Gerard Healy which has helped both boxers to mature and progress. Walsh and Healy made their debuts together and now they’re dedicated sparring partners, pushing each other inside the ring but enjoying a convivial relationship when the hard work is done for the day.
“Last week Dee was sparring Gerard as well as Tommy Tolan, Ciaran Healy and Joe Hillerby, one after the other and he could have done 20 rounds,” continued Gerard McCafferty.
“Now that he’s got this fight over him he will move on and Mark will pick out who he’s going to fight next. We wanted 10-0 before Christmas and an Irish title is even better. He’s still young and I can remember when he packed boxing in. I was on the receiving end [in 2012] when Tommy Tolan boxed him two-and-a-half years ago. He did such a good job on Tommy and I knew Dee was special. Tommy had been in against people who had fought for European titles and gone on to fight for world titles and for that kid there to do that in his third fight was unbelievable. We later had Dee up sparring Ciaran Healy for a fight in France and now we are both in his corner. It’s funny the way things turn out.”
BIG AT THE WEIGHT
With Dee walking around at over six feet tall and comfortably making the 11 stone weight limit Gerard is perplexed as to why his man was previously being routinely matched with light-heavyweights instead of campaigning at his natural limit. With hefty weight jumps no longer an issue Walsh trains every day and lives the life outside of the gym, passing his time as a family man when away from the limelight.
“For such a young lad he’s showing great maturity. I saw him boxing Eamonn O’Kane in the final of the Ulster Seniors, I think he was 17 at the time, and I personally thought he beat O’Kane and I knew he was one to watch for the future. He is a great boxer but there’s a dark side to him. When people ask me what I like to see in a boxer it’s people who can box, yes, but you need a dig and a bit of venom.”
Walsh clearly possesses that requisite “venom” and Gerard sees no reason why he cannot soon find himself in the company of more esteemed names at British title level.
“Listen, at light-middleweight Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith is the British champion and I remember being over with Gerard Healy when he fought ‘Beefy’ and his style would suit Dee. He’s going to come forward and walk on to shots like that tonight. I’d like to see Dee getting a few rounds under his belt because he’s going to be in some fights down the line where he won’t get it so easy. We concentrated last week on a 10-round spar and after the first spar he was flying. It was about getting it into his head that he can do the distance and now he knows he can.”
WHAT COULD BE AHEAD IN 2015
The St John Bosco head coach trusts Dee’s future plans to expert manager and promoter Mark Dunlop of MHD Promotions who has carved out a niche for his band of Belfast boxers to ply their trade, on a regular basis, in the Devenish Complex every few months. If things go to plan Australian-based unbeaten talent Dennis Hogan could be next in line for a shot at Walsh’s Irish title if Hogan can reconcile any concerns that the IBF may have with him accepting the bout.
“Hogan would be a great fight for Dee because Hogan will come to fight. There are a load of fights out there but we don’t make the fights, that’s Mark’s job and we’ll fight whoever he gets for us,” added Gerard.
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