'Axeman' Walters in demand
Leroy Brown, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Nicholas ' The Axeman' Walters shot Jamaica back into the world boxing spotlight last Saturday night when he demolished Nonito 'The Filipino Flash' Donaire, the brilliant multi-champion, and former World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight super champion, in six rounds, at the StubHub Center in California.
That victory not only rocketed Walters to the top of the WBA ladder in one of boxing's most exciting divisions, but has cleared the way for some great unification bouts, and as expected, talks have started, and offers are being made to the Walters management team.
Renowned Mexican promoter Oswaldo Kutchie who guides the career of World Boxing Council (WBC) champion Jhonny Gonzales disclosed yesterday that he has started negotiations for a unification bout with Walters. Kutchie and Gonzales were at ringside last Saturday night to watch the Walters versus Donaire clash, and Kutchie said afterwards that he is gunning for a Walters-Gonzales clash early next year. He also disclosed that he has a USA venue in mind for the fight.
There are other interested parties, however, and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum who has a promotional contract with Walters, is talking about a match between Walters and another Top Rank fighter, Ukranian Vasyl Lomachenko, the two-time Olympic gold medal winner, who now wears the World Boxing Organization featherweight crown.
Lomanchenko, who won his world title in only his third professional fight, a phenomenal achievement, has a big hurdle ahead however, when he defends his title on November 22 against No.1 contender Chonlathan Piriyapinyo of Thailand who has an imposing 51-1 record with 33 K0s. Lomachenko, who was rated to be one of boxing's greatest amateurs, has two wins and a loss as a professional.
Arum believes that a Lomanchenko victory would clear the way for a Walters challenge next year.
The Walters camp views Gonzales as a more lucrative opponent, and stated recently that Lomanchenko is still in the early stages of his pro career despite holding a world title. Walters has said about that matchup, " I would prefer to fight Gonzales because he's known worldwide. Anyway, that is not my call. Who I fight next is a decision that will be made by my manager Jacques Deschamps."
The other featherweight in the mix is Russian Evegny Gradovich who holds the International Boxing Federation title.