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Nicholas Walters: "Winning the WBA title has changed my life"

(Photo © Premium Boxing Promotions)
(Photo © Premium Boxing Promotions)

By Anson Wainwright


When you think of sports on the Caribbean island of Jamaica, you’re far more likely to think of track and field (in which they enjoyed considerable success at last year’s London Olympics) or cricket (the country’s national pastime). However, several notable boxing alumni have also emerged from Jamaica including former heavyweight titlist Trevor Berbick, three-division world champion Mike McCallum and more recently, Glen Johnson. Last fall, Nicholas Walters became the island’s 10th world champion when he claimed the vacant WBA featherweight title by stopping Daulis Prescott in seven. In doing so, he became the first Jamaican to win a world title on home soil. The 27-year-old from Montego Bay enjoyed his success before heading back to Panama, where he regularly trains, to prepare for his next contest on 11th May in Kingston, Jamaica against Claudio Marrero. Walters is known as “Axe Man” for the way he chops his opponents down as illustrated by his exemplary record of 22-0 with 18 wins inside the distance. Currently, Walters is ranked number nine at featherweight by The Ring magazine - check out the online sports betting.
 
Anson Wainwright - Congratulations on winning the WBA featherweight title back in December. Can you tell us about the fight with Daulis Prescott?

Nicholas Walters - The fight between Daulis Prescott and I was a fight between two good fighters fighting for their pride, their country and most importantly, for their family and future with the WBA featherweight world championship at stake and we were both ready to stage a war.

AW - It was a big occasion for you and Jamaica. Could you tell us about this and what it actually meant to you?
 
NW – Yes, it was a very important occasion for me as it was part of the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence and a chance for me to be the first Jamaican boxer to win a world title on home soil. So with this in mind, I knew I had to work very hard and make the best of the opportunity, which I did.

AW - How was your victory taken by your countrymen?
 
NW – Well, I became an instant star following my victory over the Colombian Daulis Prescott and now, I am recognized everywhere I go on the island. The youth and the young boxers of Jamaica want to be like me. I was honoured by the Prime Minister of Jamaica. I received the key to the city of Montego Bay, where I am from. I received different sponsors for my championship fight. I received many gifts, one of them being a new 2012 Mini Cooper to use while in Jamaica. Winning the title has changed my life and given me more responsibilities that come as a world champion. I am proud to have made history, being the first Jamaican boxer to win the title at home, and I thank all who made it possible but first of all, Mr. Jacques Deschamps, as without him, it would have never been possible.
 
AW - Now that you are champion, when are you looking at returning to action?
 
NW - I am planning my ring return for late April or the middle of May when I will make the first defence of my world title and it will be, of course, in Jamaica against an opponent who I still do not know. [Editor’s note: At the time this interview was conducted, there wasn’t a specific opponent lined up for Walters.] My manager and promoter, Premium Boxing Promotions, will handle that. I plan in defending my title three times this year.
 
AW - Who are the key members of your team? Also where do you regularly train?
 
NW - Premium Boxing Promotions, Mr. Jacques Deschamps, my trainer, Celso Chavez, Mr. Georges Patrick Buteau in Panama, Mirs Maryse, my mother and father. I train at the [Pedro] Rockero Alcazar Gym in Curundu, Panama City, Panama and have done this for almost five years.

AW - You train in Panama and have had 18 of your 22 fights so far there. Why is this?
 
NW - This is where Mr. Deschamps wanted me to be as my trainer is from there and where there is a good ambiance to train with many good fighters around to work and spar with. As from my first days in Panama, while still an amateur, I was able to spar with some of the best champions like Anselmo Moreno, Celestino Caballero, my good friend, Ricardo Cordoba, and a few others.

AW - Could you tell us about your younger days growing up in Jamaica?
 
NW - I grew up in Jamaica where I had a hard life. I learned boxing at a very tender age from my father, Job, who was a professional boxer. I used to run on the streets without running shoes, as we could not afford to buy them, had no gym to train at. We used the road behind my community as a gym. Boxing changed my life is all that I can say from being nothing to being a world champion and being somebody today.

AW - What are your thoughts on the featherweight division and the current champions, the WBC’s Daniel Ponce de Leon, the WBA “super” champion Chris John, WBA “interim” Javier Fortuna, the IBF’s Evgeny Gradovich and the WBO’s Mikey Garcia?
 
NW - I believe that the featherweight division is a very competitive one with very good boxers with some 122-pounders who could move up in the coming year also and I am looking to facing them in the future.

AW – Please tell us about yourself and your life away from boxing.
 
NW - Not much really to say. I am a cool, lovely, easygoing person in and out of the ring and very respectful of others. I consider myself first a sportsman whose life is boxing, [but I enjoy] being around my family and friends, watching TV, listening to Jamaican music - all types - and talking with people. There is not much more that I can say about the “Axe Man’s” life.
 
AW - Can you give us the backstory on why “Axe Man” became your nickname?
 
NW - I got the name while participating in the Caribbean Amateur Boxing Championships tournament in Trinidad and Tobago. During a teammate of mine’s fight, I was telling him to cut his opponent’s head using the axe but he did not do it so I was asked by a fan sitting nearby how to do it and I told him to see how I do it when I fight. The fan attended the semifinal in which I participated and chopped my opponent down, stopping him in the third round. This fan then came back, bringing his entire family to watch me in the final, and started calling me “Axe Man” and following the fight - which I won - he said to me, “You are the real “Axe Man.” The others do not know how to use the “Axe.” I returned to Jamaica, told the story and that’s how I got the name.
 
AW - In closing do you have a message for the featherweight division?
 
NW - The “Axe Man” is here to stay and there are a lot of future challengers to be cut down and winning the WBA world championship has given me more difficult work but I will see that the job is properly done. With the help of my promoter, trainers and manager and, of course, the support of my many fans, I will do it successfully.
 
Questions and or comments can be sent to Anson at elraincoat@live.co.uk and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright. Anson is also a contributor and ratings panelist for The Ring magazine.
 
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