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Walters to face Garza on Garcia-Martinez card

Fighters Network

LAS VEGAS — Jamaican featherweight contender Nicholas Walters, who signed with Top Rank last month, will debut with the company against Mexico’s Alberto Garza on the undercard of a Nov. 9 tripleheader in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Walters (22-0, 18 knockouts), who won the WBA’s “regular” belt in his last bout, will be part of the international and not the American telecast of the HBO-televised card, which will include RING featherweight champion Mikey Garcia challenging WBO junior lightweight beltholder Roman “Rocky” Martinez, as well as the 126-pound debut for Nonito Donaire in a rematch with Vic Darchinyan.

The card will also feature junior middleweights Vanes Martirosyan and Demetrius Andrade in a clash for the WBO’s vacant belt.

Nicknamed, “The Axeman,” Walters won the vacant WBA belt with a seventh-round stoppage of Daulis Prescott in December. Garza (25-5-1, 20 KOs) has scored two straight knockout wins since being stopped by Robert Castellanos in 2011. [Editor’s note: THE RING does not recognize the WBA’s interim or regular belts as world titles. The magazine recognizes Chris John as the WBA featherweight titleholder.]

“It should be a pretty good fight, because both styles are good,” said Top Rank Vice President Carl Moretti, during an interview at The Wynn Hotel where he was promoting Saturday’s welterweight title bout between Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez. “We’d like to, obviously, put him in a bigger fight next year on HBO.”

If victorious, Walters could be in line for future bouts against fighters such as Donaire or IBF featherweight titleholder Evgeny Gradovich, said Moretti.

“As long as he looks good, I would think that Gradovich, Donaire, and any other guy in that category who would deserve a shot at the title,” could face Walters, according to Moretti. “That part is easy. Getting a date, when and where is the part that we would still have to figure out.”

Gradovich will face former titleholder Billy Dib in a rematch on the undercard of the 147-pound bout between Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios on Nov. 24 in Macau.

“It’s a dream and a privilege come true for me to be with Top Rank, the top promotional company in the world,” said Walters, in a statement regarding his signing.

“As they have made many great fighters with the likes of [Muhammad] Ali, [Sugar Ray] Leonard, and [Oscar] De La Hoya just to name a few, I hope that they will help me reach my different goals in the future.”



Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]