Shock­ing defeat for Wal­ters

Jamaica Gleaner - - SOMETHING EXTRA -

Ax­e­man quits in Las Ve­gas ti­tle fight

SHOCKED! THAT was the re­sponse from box­ing fans world­wide last Satur­day night af­ter Ja­maica’s Ni­cholas ‘Ax­e­man’ Wal­ters quit af­ter the sev­enth round in his World Box­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WBO) Su­per feath­er­weight ti­tle fight against Ukraine’s Va­syl ‘Hi Tech’ Lo­machenko, which took place at the Ho­tel Cos­mopoli­tan Las Ve­gas in Ne­vada, USA.

Although start­ing as the 1-11 un­der­dog in the fight, Wal­ters, who went into the ring with a very im­pres­sive 26-0-1 record and tre­men­dous good­will from around the world, was ex­pected to give a world-cham­pi­onship per­for­mance against his ri­val, who has been the talk of the box­ing world re­cently, be­cause of his ex­cep­tional box­ing skills.

Lo­machenko en­tered the pro­fes­sional ranks three years ago af­ter an amaz­ing am­a­teur ca­reer that saw him win 396 of 397 bouts. Since then, he was able to win two world ti­tles in seven fights, and was hav­ing his first de­fence of the ti­tle he won on June 11 this year, with a fifthround knock­out vic­tory over then cham­pion Ro­man Martinez. He now has a 7-1 record.

Both men talked up a storm in the build-up to the fight, and each man pre­dicted a knock­out vic­tory. It was Lo­machenko who de­liv­ered, how­ever, and it turned out that he stated cor­rectly, in ad­vance, just what he would do with Wal­ters. The first four rounds, he said, would be used to test Wal­ters and see what he had in his arse­nal, and from round five, he would open up “and take care of busi­ness”. That was ex­actly what he did.

LIT­TLE AC­TION

There was very lit­tle ac­tion in the first round as both men were cau­tious, but Lo­machenko did just enough in the clos­ing stages to take the round. The pat­tern was the same in the sec­ond, and it was easy to see that Lo­machenko had a care­fully worked out plan. He threw just enough jabs to im­press the judges, and in the mean­time, suc­cess­fully par­ried the jabs and hooks thrown by Wal­ters. It was ob­vi­ous that his camp had de­vised a plan to stop the vaunted Wal­ters left hook to the body, as it rarely landed. The right hook to the head, another Wal­ters Ja­maica’s Ni­cholas ‘Ax­e­man’ Wal­ters (left) tak­ing a beat­ing from Va­syl Lo­machenko in a WBO junior light­weight ti­tle box­ing match last Satur­day night in Las Ve­gas. weapon, was also ef­fec­tively find­ing the mark with his Wal­ters was frus­trated by the blocked, and in short or­der, jabs. He hit Wal­ters with clean dom­i­nance of his op­po­nent, as Wal­ters did not have many punches, while the Ja­maican he just could not mount an op­tions. pugilist could not find the mov­ing at­tack. At the start of round five,

In the mean­time, by the fourth tar­get that was Lo­machenko. Lo­machenko un­veiled the sec­ond round, Lo­machenko was con­sis­tently One could see by then that part of his script. He upped the tempo and his hand and foot speed made him the mas­ter, of­fen­sively and on de­fence. This was the begin­ning of the end for Wal­ters.

AG­GRES­SIVE SIXTH ROUND

In round six, Lo­machenko was more ag­gres­sive, and he again stepped up the pace in the sev­enth. His hand speed was phe­nom­e­nal, and for the first time in his ca­reer,Wal­ters had no an­swers. His corner had pan­icked and there was ob­vi­ous con­fu­sion there, so he came out for the round with no plan. He ab­sorbed a lot of pun­ish­ment in this round and it was ob­vi­ous at the end of the round, that he was in se­ri­ous trou­ble.

It came as a sur­prise, how­ever, that in­stead of an­swer­ing the bell for round eight, Wal­ters called it quits. The ver­dict was a tech­ni­cal knock­out, and he had suf­fered his first defeat in 28 fights. He said after­wards that the lay­off of nearly a year had af­fected him badly, and this was ob­vi­ous, as he was not able to do any­thing right. He now has a few dif­fi­cult months ahead of him, and dras­tic ac­tion will have to take place to re­vive the 30-year-old’s once promis­ing ca­reer.

JER­MAINE BARNABY/FREE­LANCE PHOTOGRAPHER

AP

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