Walsh keen to keep calm in long-awaited world title shot

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Liam Walsh says he will not be overwhelmed by the occasion on Saturday after waiting so long for his first world title.

The unbeaten Briton challenges American Gervonta Davis for his IBF super-featherweight crown at the Copper Box Arena in London five years after being forced to pull out of challenging Ricky Burns for the WBO world lightweight title.

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Walsh (21-0, 14 KOs) was injured in a car accident a month before he was due to fight Scotland’s Burns in December 2012.

But Walsh has kept winning and, aged 30, finally gets his chance against one of boxing’s most exciting young fighters.

“I feel I’ve been training for a world title since I put a pair of gloves on at the age of four,” said Walsh.

“I thought it would be a lot easier to get a world title shot than this. There were times when I thought to myself, ‘is it ever going to happen?’

“But that’s what makes champions, that defiance and will to keep coming back from setback after setback and not be denied. That’s why I’m here, I have the desire and will to push through and reach the top.

“You get setbacks in boxing and the ones a the top are usually the ones with he most fight and will.

“Everything has been stepping stones towards a world title fight. I know I’m ready. This is perfect timing for me.

“It’s such an important fight and everything I’ve dreamed of since I was kid, so I can’t get too emotionally caught up with it.

“It will be my biggest challenge, but I’m feeling relaxed. All my confidence comes from how hard I’ve trained and I’ve never done anything to affect my body.”

Davis (17-0, 16 KOs), 22, has impressed since turning professional with all but one of his victories coming via stoppage.

The American, who is promoted by boxing’s former pound-for-pound No 1 Floyd Mayweather Jr, captured the IBF belt when he ended the unbeaten record of Jose Pedraza with a seventh round victory in January.

Davis’ aggressive style and squat build have earned the Baltimore boxer comparisons with Mike Tyson.

But Walsh, who has gone 12 rounds five times, insists there are areas he can exploit against Davis, who has never gone the championship distance.

“Gervonta is a very good fighter and has got a lot of attributes, but there are questions to be answered of him,” said Walsh.

“He’s not been challenged in certain areas.”

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