Kurt Walker insists he is eager to get up and running as the first Irishman in action at the World Championships in Hamburg tomorrow.
Lisburn bantamweight Walker takes to the ring in the opening afternoon session at the Sporthalle Hamburg, taking on Leonel De Los Santos of the Dominican Republic at 56kg, while Belfast light-welterweight Seán McComb will also be in preliminary-round action tomorrow evening.
Clonmel super-heavyweight Dean Gardiner will step through the ropes on Saturday, with Rio Olympic flyweight Brendan Irvine and European light-heavyweight champion Joe Ward picking up byes to the last 16 on Monday as both men were seeded for the Worlds draw, which took place earlier today.
But Walker insists he is keen to get going as he aims to retain bantamweight world gold for Ireland at 56kg following Michael Conlan’s 2015 success in Doha.
"I don’t mind going out on the first day and getting the first fight over with," said Walker. "I’m feeling good. I just can’t wait to get in a get ready to go," added the 26-year-old bantamweight, who has welcomed the opportunity to box at another major tournament on European soil, having claimed continental bronze in Kharkiv, Ukraine last June.
"I boxed in Germany twice as a youth at the Brandenburg Cup, which was good. I like the country, it’s nice and it’s good weather too," said Walker. "It’s a lot better than travelling further away, it’s only a two-hour flight so making weight and travelling isn’t too bad," added the Lisburn man ahead of his clash against De Los Santos, who is the No 5 seed at 56kg.
McComb will take on Brazil’s Joedison de Jesus tomorrow evening, with a date against Cuban No 2 seed Andy Cruz awaiting the winner of that 64kg bout, while Gardiner is up against Korean Do Hyeon Kim at 91+kg on Saturday.
Both Walker and McComb will be back in action on Sunday should the pair come through their respective openers at the Sporthalle Hamburg in sharp contrast to Irvine and Ward, who will not step into the ring until Monday after the pair received byes to the last 16 thanks to their high world rankings.
Belfast’s Irvine is seeded as the No 6 flyweight at the tournament, while Ward – aiming for a third senior World medal – is rated as the No 3 light-heavyweight following his third Elite European success two months ago.