Sun | Oct 22, 2017

Axeman ranked as Super Featherweight

Published:Saturday | January 23, 2016 | 12:00 AMLeroy Brown
Walters

Although former World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight Super Champion Nicholas 'The Axeman' Walters is yet to formally decide whether he will fight as a featherweight (126 pounds) or super featherweight (130 pounds) this year, it is clear that the various controlling bodies have made up their minds that he is now in the higher weight class.

Three of the major controlling bodies in professional boxing, who issued their rankings this week, have placed him in the super featherweight division.

He is ranked No. 2 by the WBA, No. 6 by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and No. 7 by the World Boxing Council (WBC). With these rankings, he can fight for any of these world titles, if his promoters Top Rank, led by Bob Arum, can get the respective champion to agree.

Walters won the vacant WBA featherweight title on December 8, 2012 when he defeated Daulis Prescott here in Jamaica by way of a seventh round tko. After two successful defences of that title, he earned super champion status when he stopped Nonito Donaire on October 18, 2014 in the sixth round in Carson City, California. In his first scheduled defence as super champion, however, he faltered.

ONE POUND OVERWEIGHT

He weighed in at 127 pounds for his title fight against Miguel Marriaga in New York on June 13, 2015, and that one pound overweight cost him his title and a possible million-dollar fight this year against WBO champion Vasyl Lomachenko, which was in the making at that time. He went on to beat Marriaga decisively, however, by way of a unanimous decision, and his stocks remained high.

On December 19 last year, he fought American Jason Sosa in the super featherweight, 130-pound class, which was seen as a test fight in that weight category. He looked good, but the fight was ruled a draw. The decision was a controversial one and most commentators stated emphatically that it was their opinion that Walters had won.

Walters told The Gleaner after that fight that he felt comfortable fighting at 130 pounds, but also made the point that he could easily have fought at 126 that night. He said, recently, that he and his team would be making the decision early this year as to which weight class he will fight in.

The decision seems to have been made for him.

Ranked at No. 2 in the 130- pound class by the WBA, he is eligible to fight the Japanese champion in that division, Takashi Uchiyama, in the near future. Uchiyama, who is 36 years old and has a 24-0-1 record, made a successful title defence on December 31, by stopping Oliver Flores in the third round.

Walters, who is 29 has a 26-0-1 record and told The Gleaner that he is confident that he will fight for a title early this year.