MONTEGO BAY, St James — Nicholas 'Axeman' Walters' success and historic victory over Colombian Dualis Prescott for the vacant World Boxing Association Featherweight title in December has brought validation to the work of the Jamaica Boxing Board, says president Stephen 'Bomber' Jones.
Walters, who became the first Jamaican boxer to win a world title on home soil after knocking out the Colombian in the seventh round in Kingston on December 9, was presented with the keys to the city of Montego Bay in a ceremony in historic Sam Sharpe Square on Thursday by Mayor Glendon Harris.
The ceremony that was attended by a wide cross section of society and included several government ministers such as the Minister with responsibility for sport, Natalie Neita-Headley and Minister of Labour and Social Security, Derrick Kellier, the Member of Parliament for South St James where Walters is from.
Prior to the ceremony, Walters was taken on a motorcade across sections of the parish, including the district of Lawson, near Anchovy where he was born and raised.
In response to the many tributes, Walters, who invited to the stage his father, Job, who was his first coach, asked for continued support from the fans to "continue cutting down the trees" and proclaimed "Axeman is here to stay".
In his address, Jones said the key to the city "signified the unlocking of the dreams for others to get where Nicholas is and to surpass it", and "another way to bring the world to Jamaica".
Walters' success, he said, "brought validation to our programme, not just for prize fighters, but for the raising of gentlemen and scholars".
Jones added: "Nicholas is a star and he is going to shine for years to come."
Minister Neita-Headley, who described Nicholas, as "a passionate son of Jamaican boxing royalty", said he deserves "to be included in conversations as the best pound for pound boxer in the world".
Mayor Harris told the crowd, which included dozens of residents from Lawson District and surrounding areas, that the Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller had been involved in the planning of the event.
Harris said the boxer, who has an unblemished record of 22 wins, "is very special to us; we expect he will continue to do great things and the youth will have another great role model".