Liam Walsh will fight in just his second bout since losing to Gervonta Davis over two years ago when he faces Maxi Hughes on Saturday.
Walsh (22-1, 15 KOs), 33, faces English lightweight rival and fellow southpaw Hughes (19-4-2, 4 KOs), 29, at the York Hall in London’s East End, in a show that will be streamed live on ESPN+ in the U.S.
It will be Walsh’s second fight back since a two-year lay-off following a third round stoppage defeat to American Davis for the IBF world super-featherweight title in May 2017.
Walsh, from Cromer, knocked out journeyman Reynaldo Cajina in May, but Hughes will be a much harder assignment and someone Walsh has been studying for some time.
“Maxi Hughes is an opponent I’ve kept an eye on for a long time,” Walsh said.
“Me and my brothers were at York Hall a few years ago when he fought Martin Joseph Ward. We always keep an eye on people around our weight.
“He also fought Scott Cardle and I know quite a lot about him. He’s a good, honest fighter and I’m looking forward to facing him.
“I’ve won this WBO European title before. I beat an Italian called Domenica Urbano on the undercard of David Haye versus Derek Chisora at Upton Park for it [in 2012]. No disrespect to the title, but I certainly want to win even bigger, better titles in the future.
“Winning this fight will get me a top 15 ranking, which is very important.”
To ensure he comes through this fight with a fringe belt and closer to world title contention again, Walsh has been sparring with brother Ryan (25-2-2, 12 KOs), the British featherweight champion who recently won his quarterfinal bout in the new Golden Contract tournament that was streamed live on ESPN+.
“Ryan and I have been sparring each other as usual,” Walsh said after a training camp in Tenerife.
“We’ve sparred throughout our careers and it’s probably the hardest sparring we have, because we know each other so well. You have to keep trying new things to get punches off and out-think the other. Some of these spars you’d pay to watch and it’s such good quality in terms of intensity.”
Despite a lack of activity, Walsh is fancied to progress from this test against Hughes, who was stopped by Sam Bowen in a shot at the British title in April last year.
Also on the bill, lightweight Chantelle Cameron looks to extend her professional record to 12-0 against Argentina’s Anahi Ester Sanchez (19-4,11 KOs), who was outpointed by Ireland’s Katie Taylor for the WBA world lightweight title two years ago. Cameron, from England, is hoping to emerge as a future opponent for Taylor — arguably the biggest star in women’s boxing — and faces Sanchez in a WBC world title eliminator.
England’s Michael McKinson (17-0, 2 KOs) and Argentina’s Luis Alberto Veron (17-0-2, 8 KOs) have similar records, and the winner of the welterweight clash will take a big step forwards in their career.