Leroy Brown, Gleaner Writer
Now that Jamaica's Nicholas Walters has earned himself the right to be called World Boxing Associa-tion (WBA) featherweight champion by defeating Colombian Daulis Prescott, he has certain responsibilities to fulfil if he is to keep his title.
In accordance with the rules and regulations of the WBA, Walters must defend the title within 120 days from the date he won it, that is, by April next year. He and his manager Jacques Deschamps have some discretion in who the opponent will be, however, as the WBA rules only state that it must be against someone in the top 15 ratings of the WBA. What this does is to give Deschamps the opportunity to virtually hand-pick the opponent, bearing in mind, however, that it must be someone who will not only give Walters a good fight, but also provide a contest that is attractive to a promoter and the public.
The next stipulated requirement for him is that if he remains champion, he must defend the title against the then mandatory contender, or the next highest-rated boxer, if there is no mandatory contender, by December next year. The WBA is adamant that the boxer who is rated No. 1 must get the opportunity to fight the champion, so although it allows the boxer and his manager to select the opponent(s) that he will fight for the first part of his reign, he has no choice but to fight the mandatory contender within a year of winning the title, if he is to keep it.
It can be recalled that former featherweight champion Celestine Caballero was instructed to fight Walters, who was then the No. 1 contender, by a date in September this year or be stripped. Caballero eventually relinquished the title after failing to make an agreement with a promoter to pay him what he wanted.
Jacques Deschamps, who manages Walters and is one of the most astute men in the business, told The Gleaner that he is already looking at possible opponents for Walters.
"What I plan to do is to talk with SportsMax, who have indicated to me that they want to promote the first defence here in Jamaica in April. If we can get an early understanding, then I will look at the likely challengers and make a decision. At a later date, we will work out a deal with them," Deschamps said.
He also said that there is no doubt that Jamaica is the venue of choice for the first title defence. "Nicholas wants it to be here, I want it here, and SportsMax have an interest, so I am 90 per cent sure now that it will happen in Jamaica in April."