KURT Walker will hope to maintain his career momentum on Saturday night when the Lisburn man takes on Maicol Velazco over six rounds at featherweight on the undercard of Lopez v Conlan (first bout from 4pm) at the SSE Arena.
Walker was given a stern test by Jonatas Rodrigo Gomes de Oliveira in Galway last month over eight rounds, but came through and although he picked up a slight nick over his right eye in that points win, is good to go this weekend.
This weekend’s opponent from Colombia has a record of 10-5 with all of his defeats by way of stoppage, so Walker will be hopeful of adding to that statistic.
"It was very tough - I always seem to get the hard ones but I enjoyed it and learnt from it," he said of his outing in Galway.
"Some things I did well and some bad, so this fight is about fixing mistakes.
"You learn more from a fight like that than just blowing someone away in one round, so I was happy with it. He gave me a few more war wounds and I was tired after it as it was very warm in there, but I was glad to experience it.
"I'm back down to six (rounds) here so I'm just going to go out and show what we've been working on and get better."
There was no time-off after Galway as Walker was straight back into the gym to prepare for this week and what he believes is the most exciting card he has been involved in despite his second pro fight taking place at Wembley Stadium on the undercard tf Tyson Fury vs Dillian Whyte.
Making a name for himself and growing the fan-base is crucial in a sport that doubles up as a cut-throat business and he hopes to put on a show that will lead into bigger opportunities in the near future.
"I enjoyed that camp as I didn't have to start all over again, so I'm in the best shape I've been in since I turned pro," he reports.
"This is going to be a massive night and I'm delighted to be a part of it. When I tuned pro, I didn't expect things to get so big so quick.
"I've fought in some great venues, but Belfast is the best and to be out on a Michael Conlan world title undercard is amazing.
"I'm just looking to take care of business on Saturday and then maybe get out to the States in the summer, maybe back here in August and then something bigger in October or November."
His Conlan Boxing stablemate, Kieran Molloy, is also back with six rounds scheduled in his welterweight clash against Lesther Espino.
Sharp and focused 🎯 @ConlanBoxing | #LopezConlan pic.twitter.com/CpLPxwJwbW— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) May 24, 2023
Like Walker, the Galway man is coming off a win in his native county last month and will again hope to put in a big performance in front of the Belfast fans.
IBO super-middleweight champion Anthony Cacace defends his title against Damian Wrzesinski, Conor Quinn is in super-flyweight against against Juan Hinostroza.
Padraig McCrory is on the cusp of a huge opportunity and will bid to maintain that momentum when the St James' super-middleweight takes on Diego Ramirez.
South Armagh’s Fearghus Quinn is set for six rounds at middleweight against Ruben Angulo, while his countryman, James Freeman, is set to make his pro debut at welterweight.
Also on the card, highly-rated Dubliner Pierce O’Leary makes a defence of the WBC International light-welterweight title against Romania’s Alin Florin Ciorceri (17-3).
O’Leary has been hugely impressive so far in his career, amassing 11 wins from as many outings including some highlight-reel stoppages and will hope to push on with another big win on Saturday.
Another man from the capital, Willo Hayden, will aim to make it six wins fro six when he faces Karl Sampson at lightweight.
There is another hugely intriguing title clash high up the card as the big-punching Liverpudlian, Nick Ball, defends his WBC Silver featherweight title against Ludumo Lamati.
Neither men have been beaten in their career with a draw early in the South African’s career the only blemish between them with Ball 17-0 to his opponent’s 21-0-1.
Both will be eyeing the winner of the main event should they come through, but there are high hopes for Ball who may be about to burst into the world title scene should he deliver another explosive win.
The 12-fight card is competed with a four-rounder at lightweight between Liverpool’s Callum Thompson and Marian Marius Istrate.