Lewis Paulin has accused Ryan Walsh’s camp of gamesmanship
Edinburgh’s Lewis Paulin has accused opponent Ryan Walsh of gamesmanship ahead of their British featherweight title fight at London’s iconic York Hall.
The undefeated Scottish champion (12-0) will enter the lion’s den tonight as the underdog, having last fought 13 months ago when he stopped Mohamed Mahmoud in Glasgow.
A combination of an injury to his hand and what he deems a lack of opportunities has kept the 28-year-old out of the ring for much longer than he had anticipated.
However, tonight’s duel ticks all the right boxes for Paulin, who is on the verge of turning the division on its head.
The Scot revealed the fight has been in the making for quite some time but only received official confirmation that the match-up had been given the seal of approval last month.
Paulin believes this was a deliberate ploy by the Walsh camp to gain an advantage.
“I’ve been pretty busy in the gym since the turn of the year but the fights just never materialised,” Paulin explained. “Then we got a sniff of the British title. But I think there has been some gamesmanship on their part. They kept saying the date was being pushed back until July and then calling up saying it was back on. They’ve been trying to pull a fast one.
“I think they are just trying to maximise their own chances of winning. I don’t mind being the underdog though. I’m pretty unknown in the sport but I don’t mind that. I’ve always been high risk low reward for other boxers.
“He says he wants to push on to world titles but he’s got to get past me first. I’m not going to make it easy and I don’t think he’ll beat me.”
Norfolk’s Walsh is the current champion and will make the sixth defence of his title in London tonight.
With that in mind, Paulin, who also works full-time as an electrician, says it was imperative he took some time off to prepare.
“I’m not fortunate enough like other boxers that I don’t have to work,” he said. “I also wasn’t offered anything that I really fancied so that’s why I have been out of the ring for a while. It wasn’t anything other than journeymen and that’s not who I want to fight.
“Since the beginning of the year there were a couple of fights that were close so I always had a feeling something big would come up.
“It’s been a dream of mine to fight at York Hall. If everything goes to plan and I become British champion then it will be life changing. It will open a lot of doors.
“I’m not under any illusions that it is going to be a hard fight but I know I can beat him. The thing with Ryan Walsh is that he is experienced and he is a big puncher. He’s got a really good chin as well as he’s never been stopped but I’ve seen him outboxed. There’s been a lot more for me to study about him than he’s had on me.
“I’ve always felt I can go 12 rounds if needs be. I used to be a cross-country runner when I was younger. I ran for Scotland so endurance-wise that’s never been a problem.
“I’m in a good position. This is the first time I’ve pretty much trained full-time for a fight so mentally and physically I feel really good.
“I had quite a bad hand injury and I was also really busy with work, doing 12-hour shifts so I couldn’t really commit to a proper training camp. I was still doing away in the gym but nothing that could prepare me for a hard fight. But this one has been totally different and I think it will show.”