Leroy Brown, Gleaner Writer
Following an extended holiday in Jamaica, after his world title fight on December 8 when he became the World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight champion, with a seventh-round technical knockout victory over Daulis Prescott of Colombia, Nicholas 'The Axeman' Walters has returned to his training camp in Panama and is now preparing for his first title defence.
Under the rules of the WBA, he must make his first title defence by April, against a boxer rated in the top 15 of the WBA. The procedure is that his manager Jacques Deschamps will have dialogue with the WBA, and get from them a short list of available contenders. In a first defence, champions usually shy away from anyone in the top- 5, and this usually gives boxers rated between 5-10 a chance to dethrone a champion. If he retains his title he will have to defend it against the No. 1 contender within a year of becoming champion. For Walters, it would be by December 2013.
Deschamps would then have discussions with the representatives of various fighters named and then try to come up with a deal that is satisfactory to both parties. At the same time, contact will be made with interested promoters, to find out who can make the most lucrative offer for a fight card.
Present indications are that Jamaica's SportsMax are the front-runners, mainly because both Deschamps and Walters would like to make the first defence of the title here. That will, however, depend on what financial arrangements can be worked out. Walters is also very popular in Panama, and a fight there would garner good public support. One would not therefore be surprised if a promoter in that country expresses an interest in the fight, and makes a bid to stage it there. It could, in fact, turn out to be a bidding war.
In the meantime, Deschamps told The Gleaner that Walters has slipped back into his normal work routine, and has already shed some of the extra pounds that he put on while enjoying the festivities in Jamaica.
"It is now back to work for him and he is doing his roadwork in the mornings and gym work in the afternoons. He takes his training seriously and his trainer has now put him back into fighting mode. Nicholas will be ready for action, whenever the fight happens," he said.