Well done, and all the best, Mr Nicholas 'Axeman' Walters

Friday, December 14, 2012

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IF ever there was an inspirational story, it's that of Mr Nicholas Walters. In addition to making the country proud early last Sunday morning, when he became the first Jamaican to win a world boxing title on home soil, Mr Walters' mother, Ms Veronica Bowen, related to this newspaper the family's struggle with adversity in the early years of her son's boxing career.

According to Ms Bowen, she would act as timekeeper, while her husband served as trainer to young Nicholas who, from as early as age six, displayed an interest in the sport.

In those days they were unable to purchase a pair of boxing gloves for their son, therefore they substituted with two orange juice boxes. She told us, too, of young Nicholas training on the streets in the district of Roehampton Lawson in St James.

It was her duty, she said, to shout to her son and his father to get out of the road whenever motor vehicles were approaching.

That, we hold, is the stuff of which inspirational stories are made. For here we see a mother and father firmly committed to their son realising his dream, watching carefully and assisting as he trained in the most rugged of conditions, knowing that one day their efforts would reap success.

And what a success it now is — Nicholas 'Axeman' Walters, World Boxing Association (WBA) Featherweight Champion.

That he earned the coveted belt with a dramatic seventh round technical knockout of his Colombian opponent, Mr Daulis Prescott, was icing on the cake for a proud nation still observing its 50th year of political Independence — a nation that has, over many years, produced some of the world's finest boxers.

We speak here of Messrs George Leslie 'Bunny' Grant, Richard 'Shrimpy' Clarke, Mike 'The Body Snatcher' McCallum, Trevor Berbick, Donovan 'Razor' Ruddock, and, of course, Lennox Lewis.

Older boxing fans still speak highly of Mr Grant, as he was the first Jamaican to fight for a world title on home soil when he contended for the WBC and WBA light welterweight titles on April 18, 1964.

In addition, Mr Grant, over his 15-year career, has represented Jamaica in eight world championships in the lightweight and welterweight divisions.

In that time, he won several international boxing titles, among them the Latin American junior welterweight and the British Empire lightweight belts (renamed the Commonwealth title).

Indeed, at the end of his professional career his stats were most impressive — 86 wins, 10 losses and six draws.

We remember well when Mr Berbick brought pride to Jamaica by beating Mr Pinklon Thomas to take the WBC heavyweight championship in 1986.

As well, many Jamaicans watched with joy, the technical beauty of Mr McCallum's pugilistic skills as he won world titles in three weight classes throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

We all were awed by the raw power and talent of Mr Lewis who, after winning the vacant WBC heavyweight title in 1997, went on to defend that belt four times before taking down Mr Evander Holyfield to become the undisputed heavyweight champion in November 1999.

Mr Walters, therefore, has a rich and proud history in the sport to defend and emulate. So far, he has shown that he has the drive and talent to do just that.

We wish him all the best.




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