Walsh Stops Tucker in Two; O’Connor Returns with a Win

Ireland’s Callum Walsh made it a happy St. Patrick’s Day eve for his fans when he stopped Wesley Tucker in the second round of a scheduled ten in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Boston’s Agganis Arena.

The Freddie Roach-trained Walsh (6-0, 5 KOs) hurt his opponent early in the second with a southpaw left hand followed by a series of rights that dropped Tucker (15-5, 9 KOs) to his haunches along the ropes. Walsh followed up with a rapid-fire flurry, but when that didn’t put Tucker away, he calmly stepped back, reset, and renewed his assault. Another series of punches put Tucker down again, and this time Walsh would not be denied, launching punches at Tucker until his foe went down for a third time, prompting a corner stoppage with just one second remaining in the round. 

For Walsh, the rapid victory was all the more impressive given that he had been training for an entirely different opponent – a tall, orthodox Leonardo Di Stefano Ruiz – until Ruiz broke his finger a week before the fight, leaving the Irishman to face the shorter, southpaw Tucker.

“I always said it doesn’t matter who, just tell me where and when and I’ll be there,” said Walsh afterward. “I can adapt to anything, and I showed that tonight.”

This was Walsh’s first fight in Boston after five in southern California; and although he will be returning to Los Angeles for his next bout in June, he resolved to return as soon as possible.

“I didn’t expect this kind of a crowd,” he marveled. “Boston, I will be back.” 

In the co-main event, Danny O’Connor made a successful return to the ring after five years away from the sport when he stopped overmatched Luis Garcia in the fourth round of a welterweight contest.

After a feeling-out first round, in which he was visibly shaking out the rust and looking to reacquaint himself with his distance and timing, O’Connor (31-3, 12 KOs) began to put together his punches, firing off two-and-three punch combinations, slipping to one side, resetting, and firing again, as Garcia (13-2-1, 9 KOs) offered little in response. By the third, O’Connor had opened a bloody gash on the bridge of Garcia’s nose, prompting referee Leo Gerstel to pause the action for Garcia to be checked out by the ringside physician. Although Garcia was given the go-ahead to continue, the contest did not last for much longer, the physician asking Gerstel to halt the fight at 1:55 of the following frame. 

Asked afterward whether he expected to dominate to such an extent, O’Connor replied that he did. 

“I don’t think anyone else did,” he admitted. “Usually when a fighter goes away for that long, they usually come back a shell of themselves. I would have liked to have stopped him flat. I’m training for world championship belts and elite level boxing, and after seeing my performance tonight, you guys know I mean business. I’m the best I’ve ever been right now. I’m a problem for anybody right now.”