OLYMPIC bronze medallist Aidan Walsh has secured the biggest win of his career since his exploits in Tokyo after qualifying for the Commonwealth Games semi-final and guaranteeing himself at bronze medal in Birmingham this afternoon.
The Belfast light middleweight never got an opportunity to fight in the Olympic semi-final after damaging both his ankles while celebrating his quarter-final win in the ring in Tokyo a year ago.
He subsequently underwent surgery and missed a large chunk of the season including the European championships in Armenia.
Having won his last 16-bout earlier this week in the NEC, he proved his class today with a split 3-2 decision over the recently-crowned European light-middleweight champion Harris Akbar from England.
Three of the judges favoured Walsh in the opening two rounds which left him 20-18 ahead on a majority of the cards, which meant that Akbar needed a knock-out in the final round to win the contest. Though he picked up a cut near the end of the second round, Walsh was never going to be caught.
Provided the cut can be treated Walsh will now be the favourite to win the gold medal. He meets Garan Croft from Wales in the semi-final on Saturday.
Earlier his older sister Michaela Walsh, who was beaten in the 2014 and 2018 gold medal fights at the Games, confirmed her status as the favourite in the featherweight division with a comfortable win over Botswana’s Keamogetse Kenosi in the quarter-finals.
On Saturday, Walsh faces Phiwokuhle Mnguni of South Africa for a place in her third straight Commonwealth final.
It was a similar story for nineteen-year-old Bangor teenager Dylan Eagleson, who had too much class in the bantamweight quarter-final for Armando Sigauque from Mozambique. The European silver medallist meets Scotland’s Matthew McHale in the semi-final.
Meanwhile, 21-year old Irish fighter Calum Walsh aims to make it four wins on his spin in his burgeoning professional career in California in the early hours of tomorrow morning.
The Cork native only made his professional debut in December but already has attracted the attention of some of the most influential figures in the pro game.
Having turned up unannounced at the famous Wild Card boxing gym in Hollywood he impressed world renowned trainer Freddie Roach in his first sparring session.
Roach persuaded Tom Loeffler, who promoted long-time middleweight World champion Gennady Golovkin and heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, to become involved in Walsh’s career.
Through Loeffler, Walsh was introduced to UFC President Dana White, one of the most powerful figures in worldwide combat Sport. White watched Walsh live in his last fight in May when he knocked out his opponent after one minute and 48 seconds.
“Callum just looked amazing. The people gravitate to him and they were going crazy for him,” said White.
His fight tonight - a scheduled six-round super welterweight contest - against 38-year old veteran Benjamin Whitaker (15 wins, 8 losses) in the Quiet Cannon Country Club in Montebello will be screened on the UFC Fight Pass streaming channel.