Walsh overcomes weight confusion to get back to winning ways
Shay Walsh was left with mixed emotions after getting back to winning ways in Belfast.
Lancaster’s mixed martial arts star picked up a unanimous decision over home favourite James McErlean on Bellator 173 at the SSE Arena on Friday night.
But the fight nearly didn’t go ahead after confusion over the agreed weight.
Bantamweight Walsh weighed in at his usual 136lbs only to find out his opponent thought it was a featherweight contest, tipping the scales nearly 10lbs heavier.
Having seen a fight with Luiz Tosta cancelled in December after the Brazilian picked up an injury the Lancaster and Morecambe MMA man could have walked away but with his last fight having been a knockout defeat to Tom Duquesnoy last May, Walsh felt he had no choice.
“There’s a weigh-in in the morning in front of officials and then in the afternoon they do a fake one if you will for the public where you do the staredown and all that,” said Walsh.
“On the way to the public weigh in I found out where as I’d been 136 (pounds) on the dot he was 145.8.
“It’s a massive, full category difference.
“He was adamant his contract said it was a featherweight fight but didn’t have it hand. We’ve not really got to the bottom of it.
“I was told I could have my money for the fight or take it.
“My last fight was way back in May and I never got going.
“I had to think when my last proper fight was and it was back in November 2015 when I won the belt (the BAMMA Bantamweight title he lost to Duquesnoy).
“It was just a terrible situation.”
It all led to a below-par performance with Walsh just glad to move his professional record to 15-4.
“I tried to look at the positives,” said the 28-year-old, who spends a lot of his time training in Thailand. “I’d sparred bigger guys but I felt it in there and he made me work for it.
“The whole thing put me in a bad mindset.
“I took a big risk but didn’t feel like I had much choice.
“My brother (trainer Sergio Zappone) told me to forget about the fight and I had to convince him otherwise.
“I’m just glad it’s over and done with.”
Walsh hopes to now keep busy in 2017 after a stop-start couple of years.
“I’m not 100 per cent on my next fight,” he said.
“BAMMA and Bellator are doing all this stuff together and I can fight for either of them.
“There’s one at Wembley in May that’s being talked about and then BAMMA are heading back to Birmingham where I’ve fought a couple of times before.
“May would be a nice turnaround. I can heal up a bit and then get back at it.
“The problem with the last few years is that I’ve been inactive.
“This sets me up for three or four fights this year which is what I’ve always wanted, it’s just not happened.”
Walsh would like to thank sponsors Green Frog Genovate, Engage Fightwear and DK Warehouse.