Ax­e­man hunts WBO ti­tle

Jamaica Gleaner - - SATURDAY -

JA­MAICAN BOX­ING star Ni­cholas ‘The Ax­e­man’ Wal­ters will climb into the ring at the Ho­tel Cos­mopoli­tan of Las Ve­gas tonight, to chal­lenge the bril­liant Ukra­nian, Va­syl Lo­machenko, for his World Box­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WBO) Su­per Feath­er­weight ti­tle (130 pounds) in what is ex­pected to be a hard-fought and ex­cit­ing en­counter.

Wal­ters, with a 26-0-1 record with 21 knock­outs, is go­ing up against a box­ing phe­nom­e­non who has a 6-1 record, with four knock­outs, that in­cludes two world ti­tles. Un­like other fights in his ca­reer, Wal­ters climbs into the ring as the un­der­dog tonight, but this he says does not bother him. It will in fact be an in­cen­tive, he says.

Wal­ters was on the road to recog­ni­tion as one of the box­ing greats of this cen­tury, when a colos­sal blun­der on his part saw him l o s i n g h i s Wo r l d B o x i n g A s s o c i a t i o n Feath­er­weight Su­per ti­tle on the scales at Madi­son Square Gar­den, New York, USA. He was sched­uled to de­fend his ti­tle against Miguel Mar­riaga on June 13 last year, but lost the ti­tle on the scales the day be­fore, when he failed to make the 126-pound weight limit. The fight went on, and Wal­ters won de­ci­sively, but the dam­age was done and he left the ring as the for­mer cham­pion.

Since then, he has had one fight against Jason Sosa in the Su­per Feath­er­weight di­vi­sion, and al­though most peo­ple thought that he clearly won that fight, it was called a draw.

This has been the only blem­ish on his record, but he is still un­de­feated.

SU­PERB CA­REER

His op­po­nent tonight has caught the imag­i­na­tion of the box­ing world in dra­matic fash­ion. He had a su­perb am­a­teur ca­reer, in which he won 396 fights and lost one. This in­cluded two gold medals each, in the Olympic Games and the World Box­ing cham­pi­onships. He had five semi-pro vic­to­ries in the AIBA World Se­ries of Box­ing, and turned pro on Oc­to­ber 12, 2013. He fought for a world ti­tle in only his sec­ond pro­fes­sional fight and lost a bruis­ing bat­tle to Or­lando Salido. In his next fight, he won the then va­cant WBO Feath­er­weight ti­tle by de­feat­ing Amer­i­can Gary Rus­sell Jr. He gave up that ti­tle af­ter de­feat­ing Ro­man Martinez by knock­out, on June 11, to take the WBO Su­per Feath­er­weight ti­tle, which he is de­fend­ing tonight.

Most peo­ple, it ap­pears, be­lieve that with his south­paw stance, terrific hand speed, slick move­ment in­side the ring and punch­ing power, he will win in­side the dis­tance against Wal­ters.

The Ja­maican is not a be­liever, how­ever. Speak­ing to The Gleaner, he said: “I am fit and ready and I am go­ing to shock all those peo­ple who are bet­ting against me. I am go­ing to win, and don’t be sur­prised if I knock him out.”

Wal­ters said he had a lot of re­spect for Lo­machenko.

“He is the cham­pion, and I give him credit be­cause he is a good fighter. Al­though I re­spect him and what he has achieved, how­ever, I am go­ing into the ring to win. Let us see how he re­acts when I hit him with some good body shots. I want to hurt him and make him bleed and see how he re­acts to that. I am ready, he is ready and it will be a great fight,” he ended. Ni­cholas ‘Ax­e­man’ Wal­ters Va­syl Lo­machenko (right) of Ukraine in ac­tion against Thai­land’s Chon­latarn Piriyapinyo.

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