Walters knocks out Prescott to claim WBA Featherweight crown

‘Axeman’ dedicates victory to Jamaica 50

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer senior reporter

Monday, December 10, 2012

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Nicholas 'Axeman' Walters landed a well-deserved technical knockout victory over the persistent Daulis Prescott in the seventh round to capture the World Boxing Association (WBA) Featherweight crown to become the 10th Jamaican world champion, and more importantly, the first to win a world title on local soil.

Walters, 26, who entered the ring as the number one ranked contender early Sunday morning, sensationally knocked out Prescott 35 seconds in the seventh round with an overhand right, after flooring the Colombian in the fourth and fifth rounds, sending patrons inside the National Indoor Sports Centre into wild celebrations.

Walters, who delivered the title on home soil 22 years after the much-loved Richard 'Shrimpy' Clarke failed in 1990, presented the small island celebrating its 50th anniversary, with a well-timed Christmas gift.

"I must dedicate this victory to my Jamaican people on the 50th anniversary of the country [political Independence]," said Walters, as applause rang out inside the arena.

He continued: "I must say nuff love for my mom, because she has been there for me all the time through thick and thin. I must say thanks to Mr Brown, Mr Carl Chang from Western Sports who has helped me a lot also, and to everybody in Jamaica."

Walters joins the likes of Trevor Berbick, Michael McCallum, Simon Brown, Lloyd Honeyghan, Glen Johnson, Oneil Bell, Otis Grant, Uriah Grant, and more recently, female boxer Alicia Ashley, who captured the World Boxing Council (WBC) Super Bantamweight crown in July 2012, to be crowned world champion.

"This means that I am on top of the world, I am the best in the world in my division. It's a dream come thrue right now for me," said an emotional Walters.

"I want to thank everybody that made this possible. Wray & Nephew, SportsMax, and I want to say thanks to the Jamaica Boxing Board for coming through for me. My manager, in Jacques Deschamps, because without him nothing would be possible," he emphasised.

The 'Axeman', who improved his record to 22-0 with 18 knockouts, put on an almost flawless performance to lift the vacant WBA featherweight title.

The WBA title was left vacant after reigning champion, Panamanian Celestino Caballero relinquished the title due to a controversial situation involving his mandatory defence.

Sizzla Kalonji had set the tone moments before when he had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hands in a prelude to the championship fight, and Walters took over and did the rest. He received a standing ovation as he was escorted into the ring by his mother Veronica Bowen, dancehall deejays Sizzla and Bounty Killer, as well as track star Asafa Powell among others.

From the very first round, it was clear that something special was in store and the confident Walters delivered in no uncertain manner.

The 'Axeman', sporting the Jamaican colours of green, black and gold on his shorts, with green gloves, worked behind a steady jab and showed off his full repertoire of boxing skills, combining well to the head and body with uppercuts and short right crosses.

After a steady first round, Walters, the son of long-serving boxing trainer Job Walters, stepped up the pace and every blow he delivered was met by an increase in volume of "yes, yes front the audience", while the piercing sound of the vuvuzela echoed in the indoor centre.

The first three rounds were steady, but the fourth round showed that the 'Axeman' meant business, 'chopping' down Prescott for the first of three knockdowns.

Prescott still showing a lot of guts, was sent sprawling to the canvas early in the fifth round by a vicious left hook and the writing was on the wall.

Following a recovering sixth round, in which Walters eased off the gas, the end came 35 seconds into the seventh round with a a right cross followed by an immediate left to the body, sending Prescott to the canvas for the final time.

The Colombian, as he has been doing all night, bravely got up, though stumbling away, and referee Rafael Ramos had no option but to end the fight. The home fans erupted into ecstasy as another chapter in Jamaica's rich sporting history was written on Jamaican soil.

"It wouldn't be better anywhere else. I loved the turnout, and I would like to have my first defence here in Jamaica," noted Walters.

Walters, who is based in Panama, took time to send a message to the Panamanians in Spanish.

"Let my say thanks to the Panama people... they have been behind me," said Walters before delivering his message in fluent Spanish.

Prescott, the number five ranked boxer, now falls to 26-2 with 19 knockouts, gave a courageous display but was no match for Walters.

"Every now and then he catches me with a few shots. He is a very good boxer with a very good record and to stop a guy with only one loss," said Walters with a shake of the shoulders.

"I just stuck to my game plan and fought and executed. My coach told me to go to the body and I did it," he added.

With the patrons celebrating the historic moment, dancehall entertainers Sizzla and Bounty Killer once again entered the ring and revved up the crowd.

"If the axe never worked I would lend him the hammer," declared Bounty Killer to loud cheers and laughter.

Nicholas Walters spreads his arms after dispatching Colombia's Daulis Prescott in the seventh round to win the vacant WBA Featherweight title inside the National Indoor Sports Centre on Sunday morning. His trademark wooden axe is also raised in celebration. (Photo: Jermaine Barnaby)

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