Leroy Brown, Gleaner Writer
May 11, 2013 is the date that has been set for the first title defence by World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight champion Nicholas Walters, his manager Jacques Deschamps has informed The Gleaner. Walters won the title here last December 8 and indications are that the first defence will also take place here.
Deschamps told The Gleaner that preliminary discussions have started with Jamaica-based SportsMax, who promoted the December fight, and who have expressed an interest in putting on the first title defence. "We are still at first base, but serious discussions should start soon, as we need to get things sorted out early to give enough lead time for promoting the fight," he said.
The major decision that has to be made soon, is who the opponent for Walters will be. At this time, he said, he is only looking at boxers in the top ten in the weight class. Two names in this group that are not being considered at this time, however, are the No. 1 contender Javier Fortuna against whom Walters must fight the mandatory if he retains the title, and No. 4 Alberto Garza.
The front-runner at this time appears to be the No. 2 contender, Claudio Marrero, but Jesús Cuellar at No. 5 and Carlos Zambrano No. 9 are also good prospects. Marrero is 23 years old and is unbeaten after 14 fights. He is also the boxer who succeeded Walters as the WBA Fedelatin featherweight champion, when Walters gave up that title prior to winning the world title. Marrero won that title in July 2012, with a third-round technical knockout victory over Juan José Beltran.
Walters, meanwhile, has moved into title-fight mode, and his trainer is now getting him in the condition that is necessary for such a fight. Note has been taken by the camp that five of the boxers in the top 10 are southpaws, and such a boxer is to be introduced into his training and sparring schedule shortly.
Deschamps made the point that Walters has not fought a southpaw as a professional, and there has to be some focus in this area, as adjustments have to be made for a fighter who will be throwing a right jab instead of a left jab.
"There are certain things that have to be done in a different way when you fight a southpaw, and we are going to deal with this early in Nick's training," he said.