UNBEATEN super-featherweight contender Liam Walsh will box in an IBF world title final eliminator against Andrey Klimov this weekend and is eager for the step up in class.
Walsh and Klimov are the two highest rated contenders for the title currently held by Jose Pedraza, who outpointed Stephen Smith in April.
Having completed his training camp in Tenerife, the Cromer native – now 30 – feels it is the right time for him to broach onto the world stage.
“It’s a final eliminator, sort of a semi-final really, the winner gets to fight for a world title,” he told Boxing News.
“I’m buzzing for it, it’s been a long time coming but I feel it’s perfect timing for me, I’m more than ready for it and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Though inactivity has sometimes stalled his career, Walsh has been tipped to storm the world stage for a while, having won British and Commonwealth titles with wins over the likes of Joe Murray, Gary Sykes and most recently Troy James, who was stopped in eight.
“It’s time for me to step up and find out how good I am, people have said ‘world class’ but I haven’t beaten any world class opponents yet so we’ll find out shortly how good I am, I’m interested to know myself,” he continued.
“He’s a serious opponent, I know he’s been out the ring since he lost to [Jose] Pedraza but his only two losses are Pedraza and [Terence] Crawford. One’s a pound-for-pound fighter and Pedraza’s on the fringes of elite level. They’re both world class fighters.”
Walsh started studying the Russian-based California once this fight started to become a possibility, and is aware of the challenge ahead of him.
“He’s got wins against John Molina, David Avanesyan. He’s a good fighter, world class. His main strengths are his formation, his consistency. When you watch him, he doesn’t do anything to make you say ‘wow’ but he does everything well,” he mused.
“It’s going to be interesting to see if I can stay disciplined throughout and to see if I can stick to a gameplan, which I haven’t really had to do so far in my career because there’s no way I’ll go in there and bomb him out in a couple of rounds. I’ll be trying, as always, but I can’t see that happening so I’ll have to stick to my guns and show discipline.”