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'The Axeman' ready for war

Published:Tuesday | November 25, 2014 | 11:00 AM
Nicholas 'Axeman' Walters

Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer

If Nicholas Walters has his way, his next opponent would be World Boxing Council (WBC) featherweight champion, the Mexican warrior, Jhonny Gonzales, sometime early next year.

Walters was speaking on radio shortly after his return home last week to a hero's welcome in Montego Bay, mere weeks after he knocked out Nonito Donaire in six rounds at the StubHub Centre in Carson, California, on October 18.

The 33-year-old Gonzales has 65 professional fights under his belt and has a ring record of 57 wins, 48 by knockout, and eight losses. Walters, who is undefeated after 25 fights, believes a fight between him and the Mexican would be a classic.

"Before the fight, Jhonny Gonzales said he wanted to fight the winner. He is a worthy opponent, he has 50-something fighters, he is a big puncher, I am a big puncher; that fight is sounding like a war," Walter said.

The one caveat is that it is not solely up to him, so Walters said he will sit down with his handlers soon to discuss possible opponents and decide who would be best for him to fight next.

Willing To Fight Anybody

"I am the true featherweight champion and I am willing to fight anybody," he said.

Anybody except two-time Olympic gold medallist WBO champion Vasyl Lomachenko whose professional record of three wins and a loss has not impressed the Jamaican champion.

"There is nothing for me to gain by beating a guy with three fights," Walters told BoxingScene.com magazine. "He has more to gain by fighting me than I have to gain from fighting him. I am the guy that knocked Nonito out, and that's never happened before, and I did it."

Walters had a memorable 2014. In May, he stopped multiple-division champion Vic Darchinyan in five rounds, before becoming the first man to knock Donaire down, with millions of boxing fans watching on HBO.

The glare of stardom aside, Walters reveals that the Filipino Flash was the tougher of the two fights.

"The Donaire fight was a better experience," he said. "Darchinyan was tough, it was my first time fighting a southpaw, but it was an honour being in the same ring with Donaire. I learnt a lot from the experience, and I am sure he learned something, too."

The experience, he said, will serve him well for future bouts.

"You cannot get too arrogant in a fight, you cannot lose your composure," he said. "I was unleashing punches without thinking that Nonito is a world-class fighter with punching power. He just reminded me that you can't be too anxious."