(Shay Walsh, the highly regarded prospect from the UK)
Considered by many to be one of the top prospects in UK MMA, Shay Walsh (2-0) is making a big splash on domestic shores. Indeed Brad Pickett, a British bantamweight making waves in the WEC, had this to say about him:
“I believe he can do very well both domestically and internationally with the right guidance. He is very well rounded considering his age and the short time he’s been training. Not only does he have the talent, he has the strength and determination which is something you can’t teach. So watch out this kid. He’s for real and is coming!”
Praise like that from someone of Pickett’s calibre doesn’t get given to many, showing the potential of Walsh. Shay himself is also convinced he can do very well in the sport.
“I can hopefully go right to the top,” he beamed. “I’m working hard all the time, learning and taking every fight as they come. Everyone wants to get to the top of their game and hopefully everything will fall into place. I like to test what I’m training, and I just want to make sure I’m doing the right things. I want to prove to people and myself that I’m better than others.”
Earlier this month, Shay emerged victorious by stopping Nathan Thompson in the first round via TKO. The Featherweight was content with his showing. “I was very happy,” he admitted. “I trained hard for the fight and was just happy to get the win and come out injury free. I’m straight back training.
“I didn’t know what to expect really,” continued Walsh, now talking about his opponent that night. “I knew he was really experienced and had had a lot of fights. I’d seen quite a bit of footage of him. I didn’t really want to think about it too much; I just wanted to go in and get the fight won by using my own gameplan.”
Walsh, one of the ‘new breed’ of mixed martial artists, considers it important to be skilled in every area. However, he still thinks one part of his game is slightly stronger than the others. “Obviously everyone tries to be as well rounded as possible, but I’ve been grappling for a long time,” he revealed. “At the moment, the ground and pound is working well.I was training MMA right from the start though since I was fifteen years-old, when my brother Sergio invited me down to the MMA club and I was ‘cross training’ from the beginning. I’m working hard all the time, learning, getting fitter and stronger and more experienced.”
Shay is also of the opinion his team, Lancaster and Morecambe MMA is a great place to train. “It’s super,” he enthused. “It’s a really good club. We’ve got some good up and coming fighters and I get good attention and good sparring down there. We pick up good techniques. That’s where I train and fight my MMA out of, but I also train at Bolton Thai Boxing club for my stand-up. I’ve also started working with Barry Edwards of Extreme Strength and Conditioning to help bring that on.
“At the Thai Boxing club I’m obviously learning new techiques, and getting sparring in with guys that are just pure Thai boxers,” he continued. “It’s bringing my stand-up on well. The strength and conditioning has been brilliant, and even though I only started working with him recently, I feel the difference already. I’ve told him I’m going to start getting down there more often.”
The 22 year-old’s only loss to date comes to Declan Williams in the semi-pro ranks. While down the line it’s something Walsh would like to correct, it doesn’t consistently haunt him at present.
“He’s been doing well but he’s actually fighting a weight class under me at the moment in the Bantamweight division,” stated Shay. “Of course I’d love to get a chance to rematch that, but it’s not something I dwell on. It was the best thing that ever happened to me to be honest. It made me re-evaluate my training and step up another level. It’s not something I think about every day, but I’d love to avenge it at some point.”
Out of all his wins, the 145-pounder is of the opinion that those in the professional ranks have been the sweetest. “The pro wins have been great,” he asserted. “Both of them have been over quite quick and I think they just mean a bit more compared to the semi-pro wins. They get forgotten about when you’re fighting in the professional leagues in a way. I’d say either of my pro wins.”
Walsh’s next encounter will be against a yet to be named opponent at the start of July. “Like I say, I’m injury free from the fight and straight back into training. I’m now matched up to fight on July 4th at Fight Ikon 3 in Bolton.”
So watch out for this young gun. He’s capable of big things and is one to watch in the future.