At the age of 32, Nicholas is a nine-year pro. A former WBA featherweight “super” world champion in the WBA’s multi-champion system, he won the WBA “world” featherweight title in December, 2012, and made three successful title defenses. In the WBA’s February, 2015 rankings, he was named “super” world champion, but lost the title by coming in overweight at the weigh-in before his first title defense. Before his pro debut, he was an amateur standout.
Nicholas has fought top-level opposition and has some impressive wins to his credit, most notably a sixth-round knockout in his second WBA title defense against the BWAA’s “2012 Fighter of the Year” Nonito Donaire in October, 2014.
On December 19, 2015, in Verona, New York, Nicholas had a controversial 10-round draw against Jason Sosa – most observers thought Nicholas clearly deserved to win.
In his last fight on November 26 in Las Vegas, he lost by seventh-round TKO in a world title challenge against WBO junior lightweight champion Vasily Lomachenko.
Lomachenko consistently outboxed and outworked Nicholas – he rocked Nicholas with a series of punches in the seventh round, and Nicholas did not continue after the round.
After the fight, Nicholas said, “He was catching me clearly in the last round – I barely made it through the last round. I was out of range, I wasn’t finding my range. He was getting better and better each round, and then in the seventh round he caught me with good body shots and he caught me with good head shots. My corner decided it would be stupid to go out there.”
In an earlier interview, Nicholas said, “I train at the Rockero Gym in Curundú, Panama City. I’ve trained in Panama for my whole professional career. Celso Chavez has been my trainer for about nine years now. I turned pro with him. My dad was my trainer in the amateurs.
“I’m never out of the gym. That’s the thing with me – I’m always in the gym, working out. It doesn’t take much for me to get myself in fighting condition because I’m never out of the gym – working out, sparring with the guys, you know, helping the other guys with their fights, and working with my coach. I’ve trained in Panama my whole professional career.
“I’m working on my intelligence in the ring – that’s what I’m working on. In boxing, the most intelligent guy on the night of the fight is the one that’s going to win the fight, and I’m trying to be as smart as I can be for this fight.”
“I have accomplished almost everything that a boxer dreamt about. I have become a champion, I did title defenses. I beat guys that I was not supposed to beat. I knocked guys out that were not supposed to be knocked out.”
Regarding his nickname, he said, “I entered an amateur competition in Trinidad, and the Jamaican guys were winning the fights – I kept telling them, ‘Chop them with the axe, chop them with the axe!’ A spectator at the fights said to me, ‘Every night you come to the fights and tell them to chop them with the axe. When you go in there, I want to see you chop them with the axe.’ I stopped the guy, and when I came out of the ring the spectator said to me, ‘These guys that you’re telling to use the axe, they don’t know what to do with the axe. But you are the real axe man.’ When I went back to Jamaica, I tell them the story about the axe, and everybody started calling me ‘The Axe Man’ from there.”
AMATEUR, PERSONAL BACKGROUND: Nicholas said, “I was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica. I have two brothers and one sister. My father, Job Walters, was a professional fighter. He’s a full-time trainer now. He trains in the gym in Corpus Christi, Texas, and whenever I’m going to fight, he works with me over here in Panama. My younger brother, Oraine Walters, is an amateur boxer in Jamaica. [note: 58-year-old Job Walters, a former pro featherweight, retired in 1991 with a record of 12-7, 3 KOs]
“I started boxing around the age of seven or eight. My dad was a fighter and trained in the gym. He used to take me with him when I was a little kid, and I got hooked on boxing from there.
“I had 59 amateur fights. But you have to understand – in Jamaica, you have maybe two amateur fights per year. Nobody over here gets the experience that they do in the States.
“I’m naturally right-handed. I’m not married, but I have my girlfriend. We live together. Her name is Seidy. (pr: Sadie) She’s a Spanish teacher here in Panama. I have one son who’s six years old. His name is Frenchie. I have a newborn son, O’Bryan, who is two years old.”…
From the Jamaica Gleaner [Dec. 1, 2012 – excerpts]: There is one dream that many fathers have from the moment they first hold their sons – to have them join them in the family business and carry on a legacy they begun.
For Job Walters, former local boxing champion, this is a dream that has come true in ways he didn’t even dare to imagine.
To say that Job Walters is a proud dad would barely be scratching the surface of the emotions he has for his son, Nicholas “The Axeman” Walters.
From the first moment Job fitted juice boxes as gloves on Nicholas’ tiny four-year-old fists, he has had an indelible impact on his son’s life and career.
By adopting a hands-on approach, which spoke to his own experiences in the ring, the elder Walters has guided all aspects of Nicholas’ career and has seen their shared vision of boxing glory morph into an amazing reality.
Job represented Jamaica from 1986-1991 in the featherweight division, a period characterised by 12 wins and seven losses. While boxing became Job’s lifelong love though, it wasn’t a career that the then-boys home resident gave much thought as a child. But, according to Job, boxing found and saved him.
“Growing up in those days and living in a home, there were really only two options for you if you didn’t have an education – music and sports. I used to dabble in cricket and when I left the home at 16, one day I went to a cricket match with my father and saw a man challenging anyone to box him. I decided to give it a try and the people were cheering for me because the guy couldn’t hit me,” says the St. James native in fond remembrance of his first meeting with boxing.
This experience was followed by another chance encounter after a man saw him and his younger brother play-boxing in St. Catherine and told him about the Gun Court Boxing Gym in the parish.
According to Job, after dedicated training there “it took me four months to make the national team and my first bout was in Haiti. That was my first plane ride ever! I won comfortably and that started off my career.”
He added: “I found my purpose in boxing. It was a vehicle for me to travel the world and give me a better life. Travelling to compete in matches opened my eyes to be grateful for what I have because some people live worse lives, but still are humble and grateful.”
From champion boxer, Job took his experiences literally to the streets through an open-air gym – which still operates today – where he shared his expertise with young boys who had a taste for the sport and were eager to pursue it as a career.
With such a strong heritage in boxing, it was no surprise that Nicholas easily entered the Walters’ family business.
The eldest of three boys, all of whom did boxing at some point, Nicholas grew up with intimate knowledge of the sport and keenly followed in his father’s winning footsteps, registering multiple victories and dominating his weight class from his first punches as a child fighting in matches within the community.
As a champion boxer, Job knew just what it took to get to and stay at the top of the sport – continued hard work. It’s something he’s instilled in Nicholas throughout the years.
“I used to interview my boys with a little camera as they trained and told them they were already world champions. This positive reinforcement was important to motivate them. But I also made sure they knew that they had to set realistic goals and work hard towards them,” said Job.
By Job’s own admission, Nicholas’ younger brother, Oraine, displayed a higher level of technical skills as a boxer. But it was Nicholas who showed the grit and determination necessary to succeed and who today is maintaining that proud Walters tradition.
As a lad, Nicholas looked up to other boxing greats such as Mike Tyson, Mike McCallum and Evander Holyfield. If he could, he would even love to fight Sugar Ray Leonard, whom he describes as his chosen fighter of all time.
But none of these legendary fighters has come close to influencing his career as much as and in the manner of his father.
“My father was a pro fighter and I loved to watch him train. That’s how I first got interested in boxing. He noticed my interest and personally kicked off my career when I was just a boy. Everything I am today is because of him. Every success is due to him. Not only was he my father, but he was my first coach and he believed in me every step of the way, even when I doubted myself,” said Nicholas.
“My first win at age 22 against Panamian Estaban Ramos helped to boost my confidence and showed me that based on my father’s teachings and my own hard work I had what it took to make a career of boxing. Because of my dad, boxing changed my life and is now a big part of it.”
Job remains Nicholas’ biggest supporter. He has watched with pride as his son took on the world over the years, maintaining an unbeaten streak and when the ‘Axeman’ – so named for the way in which he seemingly effortlessly brings down his opponents – takes to the ring, Job will be right there cheering him on as a dad, coach and mentor.
“To see my boy fight is good for me. I love going with him to his matches not just because he’s a good boxer and I am confident he will do well, but because he’s giving something back to the world – enjoyment, entertainment and mostly to the Jamaican public, honour and pride.
“Everybody needs a purpose in life and I am happy that Nicholas has found his. Win, lose or draw, he’s making the world a better place through his boxing. I couldn’t be happier.”