Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight champion Nicholas 'The Axeman' Walters was yesterday given the Key to the City of Montego Bay in a special civic ceremony at the world-famous Sam Sharpe Square.
Walters was also presented with a citation by Mayor Glendon Harris, the St James Parish Council chairman, which drew loud cheers from the huge crowd that turned out to see him being lauded for his outstanding achievement.
The WBA champion promised to retain his title when he faces a yet-to-be named challenger in his first title defence in April.
"We are going back to Panama to discuss who will be our new opponent and set up a training camp there," Walters said.
"And I know the Jamaican public is waiting for me to defend this title right here at home, so that's the plan at the moment," said a beaming Walters, who listened as the various speakers lavished praise on his exploits.
Walters, who outpunched then stopped Colombian Daulis Prescott in round seven of their 10-round fight in Kingston last month to capture the featherweight title, is a St James native who first wore empty juice boxes on his fists as gloves in his early days in the sport.
"Those were days that I cannot forget," declared Walters. "My father was a hard trainer but he saw the vision and worked the plan to perfection and now this is the fruit of our labour."
His record now stands at 22 victories, 18 by way of knockouts and no defeats, something Walters said he is keen on keeping.
"Come April, whoever the opponent turns out to be, the Axeman will cut him down because I want to keep winning and maintain a 'no-loss' record," Walters said.
Prior to the civic ceremony, Walters participated in a motorcade, which began in his hometown of Roehampton, then was led by police outriders through Anchovy Square, before heading into Sam Sharpe Square, Montego Bay for the ceremony.
Minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with Responsibility for Sports, Natalie Neita-Headley, in her address, described Walters' achievement as the pinnacle of boxing in Jamaica, noting that Walters' achievement was special because he managed to win on home soil, becoming the first and only Jamaican to do so.
Neita Headley, Local Government Minister Noel Arscott, Custos of St James, Ewen Corrodus, president of the Jamaica Boxing Board of Control, Stephen Jones and representatives of state agencies and members of the business community were all in attendance.