Ireland’s Callum Walsh has been boxing since he was six years old, and took his first amateur boxing match when he was 11. This week, he makes his return on UFC Fight Pass, topping a Hollywood Fight Nights card. It’s his third pro match as a boxer, which might cause some double takes, until you look at his amateur background.
“I had 120 amateur fights, I won six national titles, I won a European gold medal,” Walsh said during an appearance backstage at UFC 274 over the weekend.
Walsh has trained with the legendary Freddie Roach, and says he’s going to be the next big thing out of Ireland. And the comparison to MMA’s biggest star is not lost on him. “I’m going to be the Conor McGregor of boxing,” he told the assembled media backstage at the Footprint Center.
While Walsh was on hand to promote his fight, he was also there in support of Tony Ferguson. And the 21-year old had plenty of Tony Ferguson training stories.
“I trained with Tony a lot. Me and Tony run together, I wrestled with Tony, we’ve done a lot of stuff together, me and Tony,” revealed Walsh. “It’s crazy, training with Tony. I never wrestled before in my life, and I actually wrestled with Tony the first time. Crazy, unbelievably crazy experience.”
The pair also run together — an endeavor which can lead to some late nights. “Me and Tony, when we go running, he brings all these drills into it, like American football drills, and this kind of stuff. And any time I did go running with Tony, it was like the middle of the night,” recalled Walsh. “Tony shows up to my house at like 12 o’clock at night, and we just go running. It’s a lot of unusual training but it’s good, I like it, it’s fun. It makes things fun, and I enjoy it.”
The latest they’ve been out running? “There was one night actually he texted me, I think it was like 11:30, 12 at night, he was just like ‘let’s go.’ He just texted me ‘let’s go!’ I was like ‘alright, let’s go.'”
That led to a multi-hour session. “I think we trained for like three hours, three or four hours.”
Ferguson hadn’t yet stepped into the octagon for his ill-fated date with Michael Chandler at UFC 274 when Callum Walsh addressed the media. But he did have plenty of positive things to say about the boxing skills of “El Cucuy.”
“Tony’s boxing is good. Tony’s boxing is very good. He hits very hard. I was actually surprised when I first met Tony, his boxing is very good to be fair,” said Walsh. “Tony has a lot of power, he hits very hard.”
Watch the full media scrum with Callum Walsh backstage at UFC 274 above.