Walsh to face Brazilian for fringe WBO belt as James drops out

Undefeated hot-shot Liam Walsh will now face big-hitting Brazilian Isaias Santos Sampaio this Saturday (11th July) at the Manchester Velodrome (National Cycling Centre).

Walsh was scheduled to defend his British and Commonwealth titles against Troy James, but the Coventry fighter withdraw due to a back injury sustained in training.

Now red-hot Walsh will challenge for his fifth professional career title with the Vacant WBO Intercontinental Lightweight Championship on the line against Sao Paulo puncher Sampaio.

Walsh’s potentially explosive showdown against Sampaio is chief-support to another dynamite-clash in the main event between Manchester’s Terry Flanagan and American KO king Jose Zepeda for the WBO World Lightweight Championship, live and exclusive on BoxNation.

The Cromer star is closing in a world title fight, himself, and his future plans could be put in jeopardy against Sampaio who’s blasted out 21 opponents from his 23 wins with 18 coming inside the first three rounds.

In Sampaio’s last fight in May he smashed the previously unbeaten Angelo Marcos Dos Santos Silva in the opening round to claim the Brazilian and American Championships.

He’s also mixed it with former World Champions Billy Dib and Jonathan Victor Barros, plus world title challenger David Saucedo in the ring so he’ll have plenty of experience on his side against hard-hitting Walsh.

As with most huge punchers, Sampan is susceptible to being hit and has lost ten fights with nine coming by KO. Walsh, who has a 67% KO rate on his record, says it will make for a thrilling fight as Sampaio will either hit or be hit and could fall early.

“I’ll definitely have to be alert against Sampaio, one false move and it could be over,” Said Walsh.

“He’s a late replacement for the injured Troy James and he comes in with an awesome record,”

“Sampaio either KO’s you or gets KO’d, simple as that so I won’t be taking my eyes off him for a second as he poses a real threat,”

“So much is lined up for me after this fight and I’m not far of challenging for a world title so it’s vital that I win this Saturday,”

“He looks very strong, stocky and can be dangerous with his head. I’m sure he’s had some right brawls out in South America so he’ll be a right tough nut to crack,”

“I can see the early rounds been quite entertaining if he’s knocked-out most of his opponents in under three round, it could be quite a shoot-out between us, but in my mind I’m set to take him out in the mid rounds,”

“With the WBO Intercontinental belt up to be won, I know that a victory will be a massive boost for my rating in the organisation and will push me closer to the world title so there’s no way I’m going to let Sampaio wreck them.”

Flanagan v Zepeda headlines an action-packed show that also features the return of former IBF World Bantamweight Champion Paul Butler, and Jack Catterall’s WBO Intercontinental Light-Welterweight title defence against Gabriel Calfin.

A sensational undercard line-up features top British talents Tom Stalker, Adrian Gonzalez, Steven Lewis, John Kays, Joe Costello, McCaulay McGowan, and Kallum De’Ath plus top Belarussian heavyweight Alexander Ustinov.

Tickets for ‘Turbo’ priced at £40, £50, £75, £100 and £150 will be available from Eventim on 0844 249 1000 and online at www.eventim.co.uk

The Channel Of Champions, BoxNation, will televise the show live and exclusive on Sky 437/HD 490, Virgin 546 and Talk Talk 415. Subscribe at www.boxnation.com or watch online at Livesport.tv and via iPhone, iPad or Android.