Leroy Brown, Gleaner Writer
The long wait for World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight champion Nicholas 'The Axeman' Walters has ended. After months waiting for a promoter to sign him to an agreement to make his first title defence, he has now inked a deal with world-famous promoter Bob Arum and his Top Rank organisation to fight an opponent to be named shortly, on November 9 in Corpus Christi, Texas.
This will be on a card featuring two other world title fights.
Jacques Deschamps, who manages Walters, told The Gleaner yesterday that the contract with Top Rank is now "signed, sealed and delivered and we are very happy with this development.
"After the disappointment of not being able to sign a contract to fight in Jamaica, we are pleased that the long wait has ended and Nicholas can now start preparing for the fight," Deschamps further explained.
"He is anxious to get back into the ring after a nine-month lay-off and he will now be able to show the world that he is the best featherweight boxer in the world."
Walters won the title on December 8, 2012 at the National Indoor Sports Centre by scoring a dramatic seventh-round technical knockout over Daulis Prescott of Colombia.
Plans were for him to make his first title defence in Jamaica, but negotiations dragged on for months and finally ended without resolution.
Deschamps said that he negotiated with both Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions for several weeks and Top Rank came up with the best offer.
The contract is for five fights in two years, and to keep up his end of the bargain, Walters has to keep winning.
"Nicholas has to win to keep the contract alive, and if he performs well, Jamaica's boxing fans will be able to see him on HBO," Deschamps pointed out. "The purse money that he will command will depend on his performances and his success, and if he does well, he can be a headline fighter."
In a statement after the signing, Arum said that he was pleased to add Walters to his camp because there were some good fighters in that weight class.
"We have some major fights that can be made there, and the better the fighters that we can sign, the more exciting it will be for us and the public," said Arum.
Walters said he is thrilled that the negotiations had ended on a positive note because he is anxious to get into the ring.
"I have waited a long time for this to happen and feel great that the wait is over. This has been my longest lay-off since I turned professional, and I am happy to end the drought," said Walters.
"Now that I have signed a contract, I hope that everything will work itself out and that I will know who my opponent is in a matter of days. I want a good fighter so that I can show off my boxing skills, and my only regret is that I will not be doing it at home.
"The important thing now is to perform satisfactorily, and I intend to do just that. I am back into hard training and have been running in the mountains in Haiti over the past week," noted Walters.
"I will be ready, regardless of who they put in the ring against me, and I want to score a big victory for my many fans, especially those in Jamaica and Panama."