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BOXING AT THE IRVINE MARRIOTT : Walsh to Fight Mosley; Some Hoped for Tougher Opponent

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Michael Walsh of La Mirada takes his first step toward a top-20 ranking tonight at the Irvine Marriott when he fights for the vacant California junior welterweight title against journeyman Russell Mosely of Campo.

Walsh (16-1-3 with 14 knockouts), who won his last fight in an eight-round decision over Juan Barretto on Sept. 28, will be in a 10-round bout for the first time.

Promoter Roy Englebrecht and matchmaker Jerry Bilderrain would have liked to see Walsh fight Mark Lewis (10-1, eight knockouts), a promising junior welterweight from Palm Springs, but Walsh’s management would not take the fight.

“A Lewis-Walsh fight would have been the fight that Peter Broudy [a Los Angeles based-promoter] and the Forum couldn’t capture,” Bilderrain said.

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Mosely, a member of world champion Terry Norris’ stable, has eight victories and a draw in 25 fights with only three knockouts.

“We have to protect the boy but you protect the boy to a certain extent,” Bilderrain said of Walsh, who is signed to a promotional contract by Englebrecht. “I don’t want Walsh to lose. He’s our protection. But a guy with a 16-1 record, where do you go. It’s a hard sell.

“They may call them the yuppie crowd [at the Marriott], but they’re not stupid. If you have a product, you must show confidence in your product.”

Even so Bilderrain said he expects Mosely to give Walsh a tough fight.

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“Russell Mosely is not a bad fighter, in shape,” Bilderrain said. “He’s been working out in Big Bear with Terry Norris. I look for Russell Mosely to give this guy a rumble. You can’t sell him short. He’s coming in here to win. Walsh is going to be in there with a guy who can think a little bit and is sharp.”

Mosely is coming off a knockout victory over former bantamweight champion Lupe Pintor, but he is not near the caliber of Lewis, who knocked out Walsh when they were amateurs.

“Remember Buster Douglas was a 40-1 underdog when he fought [Mike] Tyson,” Englebrecht said.

But Englebrecht admits a top-20 ranking for Walsh will only be possible with victories over credible opponents.

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“If Michael can beat Russell, he would be 17-1 and it would be time to really take his career to another level,” Englebrecht said.

Lewis will be on the four-bout undercard in a six-round bout against Wade Shamp (7-5-1, four knockouts) of Wooster, Ohio. The co-main event features Ricardo Fuentes, a 19-year old from Azusa who has won all eight of his fights, four by knockout. Fuentes will fight Victor Flores (8-7-2, six knockouts) of Jalisco, Mexico.

The show begins at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $25, $30 and $35.


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