Thu | Sep 21, 2017

'Axeman' Walters out in the cold

Published:Saturday | April 30, 2016 | 4:00 AMLeroy Brown
Nicholas Walters

Vasyl Lomachenko, the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) featherweight champion, will fight Roman 'Rocky' Martinez for his World Boxing Organisation super featherweight title on June 11 at the Madison Square Garden Theatre in New York.

This fight was arranged by Bob Arum, the head of the Top Rank promotion company, in place of a fight he had planned between Lomachenko and Jamaica's Nicholas 'The Axeman' Walters, the former World Boxing Association featherweight super champion.

Arum tried for months to get Walters to agree to a fight with Lomachenko with the Ukranian title at stake, but Walters, who has elected recently to do his own negotiations, instead of allowing his manager Jacques Deschamps to do so, priced himself out of the fight.

Arum stated publicly that Walters wanted US$1 million to fight Lomachenko, a purse that Arum rejected immediately. It is reported that Lomachenko agreed to a purse of $850,000 and that Arum made a first offer of US$550,000 to Walters, which he rejected. The negotiations went out of the window quickly, and Arum again stated publicly that he had ceased negotiations with Walters and would move to find another opponent for Lomachenko.

He had discussions with two fighters after this, and in a short time, it was agreed that Lomachenko would move up to the super featherweight division, 130 pounds, to fight the champion Martinez for his title. The fight is on and will take place on June 11, and the official announcement was made in New York on Thursday

NO WORD AS YET

Walters, in the meantime, is out in the cold. The Gleaner has tried repeatedly to make contact with him without success. His manager, Deschamps, however, told The Gleaner yesterday that he has been following what is going on keenly and he, too, has not heard from Walters.

"I am still his manager, and I am ready to get back to doing what I have done successfully for him since before he became a professional boxer in August 2008.

"I moulded his career and negotiated the right fights for him until he became world champion. He has made some mistakes recently, but he is still one of the best fighters in the world, and we can get back there. I am optimistic that we will clear this hurdle," he said.

In the meantime, the fight between Walters and Lomachenko, which was supposed to be one of the boxing highlights of 2016, is now on the back burner.