Leroy Brown, Gleaner Writer
He did it! Nicholas 'The Axeman' Walters became the World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight boxing champion last Saturday night, in the main bout of a five-fight card promoted by SportsMax and approved by the WBA and the Jamaica Boxing Board of Control.
On a fight card, dubbed the 'Wray and Nephew Rumble on Jamrock', at the National Indoor Sports Centre, Walters scored a dramatic seventh-round TKO victory over a game Daulis Prescott of Colombia.
Walters stopped his man 35 seconds into the round and in accomplishing this feat, he became the ninth Jamaican to win a world title.
The Jamaican fighter was ahead on the scorecards of all the judges when the fight ended. Judges Octavio Rodriguez and Carlos Sucre had it 60-52, while judge Gloria Rizzo's score was 59-53.
He also had the distinction of being the first to do so in Jamaica and now has a 22-0 record with 18 KO's.
"I wanted to do this for Jamaica's 50th Independence anniversary celebrations and I am glad that I was able to," an elated Walters told The Gleaner after the fight.
Following a sizzling performance from Sizzla - who brought down the house - and later accompanied him to the ring, Walters started his quest for a world title at 12:12 Sunday morning.
Twenty-four minutes and 35 seconds later, he became a world champion, the culmination of a journey as a professional that started on August 2, 2008, when he defeated Estaban Ramos over four rounds in Panama.
Walters gave a workman-like performance, starting methodically and using his jabs to good advantage to score some early points. Prescott also looked sharp and mixed his jabs with hooks to the body that sent his own message to the Jamaican that it could be a long night.
The Jamaican stepped up the pace in the second round by throwing double jabs and occasional combinations to his opponent's body, but Prescott came right back with his own two-fisted attack. He delivered one particularly hard hook to the body, but Walters answered quickly with a good counter-attack. A low blow near the end of the round by Prescott drew an angry verbal response from Walters and a caution from referee Rafael Ramos.
There was a lot of action in the third round, as both men challenged each other. Walters landed a hard right to the body near the end of the round that was countered beautifully by Prescott.
Walters stepped up the pace appreciably in the fourth, attacking body and head relentlessly. Prescott was put on the canvas and he took the mandatory eight count. He did not seem to be badly hurt, however, and fought back gamely.
Walters on fire
The hometown fighter came out with blazing fists in the fifth and chased his man around the ring aggressively. A left hook put Prescott down again, but he rallied once more and kept himself in the fight with good boxing skills.
Walters eased the pressure in the sixth, choosing to score with his jabs, but this proved to be the calm before the storm.
As the bell for the seventh round rang, he was out of his corner like a flash of lighting, throwing 'bombs' with both hands. There was a furious exchange as Prescott fought back, but the fight ended with Walters throwing a brutal, short left hook to the body that put Prescott on his back. He rolled over, got on his knees and lifted himself from the canvas laboriously as the count reached eight.
He was on rubber legs, however, and sensing this, referee Ramos, who did a fine job, called a halt. It was all over and Walters was the new WBA featherweight champion.
He celebrated by jumping on the ropes and waved to his wildly cheering and adoring fans. He then rolled on the canvas and was lifted to his feet by his trainers, Celso Chavez, Wilford Gonzalez, and father Job Walters.
CAPTION - Jamaica's Nicholas Walters celebrates as he is declared the new World Boxing Association featherweight champion by referee Estaban Ramos, following his seventh-round TKO win over Colombia's Daulis Prescott during their title fight at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston last Saturday night. Walters created history by becoming the first local boxer to win a world title on home soil. At right is Gilbert Mendoza, executive director. - Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer