Irish Amatuer star Dean Walsh to turn professional
Dean Walsh, the 26-year-old Wexford Town welterweight, has finally decided to leave the amateur code following a hugely decorated career and will start targeting professional belts in the near future. Walsh has put pen to paper on a three-year deal with Boxing Ireland Promotions, Ireland’s biggest and most active promotional outfit, and there are high hopes for the big punching Model County fighter.
Boxing since the age of seven with the St Ibar’s boxing club, Walsh won four Irish Elite Senior titles. Internationally he claimed medals at prestigious multi-nations tournaments such as the Feliks Stamm Cup in Poland and the Montana Belts in France. However, his crowning achievement came in 2015 when he won European bronze in Samokov, Bulgaria, becoming the first and only Wexford boxer to win a medal at a major championships.
Nephew to former Irish head coach Billy Walsh, he had hoped to compete at the Olympics like his uncle but was denied at the qualifying stage for the Rio Games in 2016. Here he was controversially beaten on a split-decision by Azerbaijan’s Lorenzo Sotomayor – who went on to win silver at the Games.
Off the amateur radar somewhat over the past 18 months, Walsh now returns ready to rip things up in the pros having been quietly training, building, and making sure he made the correct decision.
“I just think now is the right time,” he explains. “I was debating it for a couple of years. I was offered a few times over in England, there were offers there for me, but the only reason I didn’t take it because I want to build my fan base, get my own crowd behind me.”
The man from Wolfe Tone Villas is confident that it’s the start of a special journey for him and his home county. Walsh describes how “the Wexford crowd really get behind you – you see the boys up in All-Irelands, the hurling, even the soccer, the Wexford fans are always there. Wexford were there for all my All-Ireland finals. I have a good fan base and there’s a lot of family friends too. It’s not just Wexford Town, it’s all around the county, Enniscorthy, Gorey, Ferns, they all know what I can do. I’m a very proud Wexford man and my goal is to bring titles back to the county.”
The IABA wish Walsh the best of luck in the professional ranks.