Leroy Brown, Gleaner Writer
Nicholas 'Axeman' Walters, the World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight champion, will definitely be making the first defence of his title overseas, his manager Jacques Deschamps told The Gleaner yesterday.
After Walters defeated Colombian Daulis Prescott at the National Indoor Sports Centre, on December 8 last year, the word went out that the first defence would definitely take place in Jamaica, but this is not to be.
Deschamps said that for months he has been having discussions with the promoters of the successful title fight last December to make it happen here and they had examined various promotional models.
"We have not been able to come to an agreement, however, and I have had to look elsewhere," he said.
He has been throwing out feelers over the past several weeks, and so far he has had positive responses from Golden Boy Promotions led by Oscar de la Hoya and Frank Warren, one of the most successful promoters in England.
He pointed to the fact that Walters could have run into trouble with the WBA for not defending his title in eight months, but since they knew that he was actively seeking a fight for his boxer, they have been understanding and accommodating. The likely venues for the fight, he said, would either be Haiti where he lives, or in the United States.
Walters, who had been training hard for a June fight in Jamaica, had to ease off heavy training the past few months. With the recent developments, which Deschamps regards as very positive, he has given Walters and his trainer instructions to get back into full training mode as a fight should be finalised shortly. It will not be later than October he told The Gleaner.
The long delay in arranging a fight, Deschamps said, has also posed a long-term problem for Walters.
"He has been inactive for too long. It is nearly nine months since the title fight and that type of lay-off is never good for a boxer. Nicholas (Walters), too, has never been out of the ring for so long, and since his mandatory fight against the No. 1 contender has to take place by December, he could have some problems.
Garza still in the mix
Asked about the likely opponent, he said that top contender Alberto Garza was still in the mix but that would depend somewhat on who agrees to promote the fight. The negotiations, according to Deschamps, are very positive and he is keeping his fingers crossed that there will be a contract some time soon.
Commenting on the development, Walters said that he was very disappointed that the fight will not be taking place in Jamaica. He said that he was surprised that local sponsors had not come on board to make the fight happen as the public response to his victory in Jamaica had been so good.
His main goal now, however, would be to get himself into fighting shape and be ready for whoever his manager decides will be his opponent.
"I will be ready to go whenever they say as I want to keep the Jamaica flag flying high in boxing all over the world," he added.