Nicholas Walters fails to make weight, loses WBA featherweight belt
Nicholas Walters will face amateur rival and fellow unbeaten puncher Miguel Marriaga tomorrow night in New York City, but he will not do so as the defending WBA featherweight titleholder. Walters lost the belt when he failed to make the 126-pound division limit on Friday.
Walters (25-0, 21 knockouts), THE RING’s No. 1-rated featherweight, weighed in at 127.4 and was given two hours to shed the extra 1.4 pounds. He was only able to come down to 127 pounds, so his WBA title is officially vacated and will only be on the line for Marriaga (20-0, 18 KOs), who owns an amateur victory over Walters and weighed in at 125.2. Walters, a 29-year-old boxer-puncher from Jamaica, won the vacant “regular” WBA belt in December of 2012 but earned universal recognition as the WBA champ by knocking out Nonito Donaire last October.
There won’t be a first defense of the title, and a proposed showdown with WBO featherweight beltholder Vasyl Lomachenko could now be in jeopardy.
“I’m coming off an eight-month layoff. I tried everything,” Walters told Crystina Poncher during a TopRank.tv live stream of the weigh-in from Madison Square Garden Theater, the site of tomorrow’ HBO-televised card.
“He did what he could (to lose the weight),” said Carl Moretti of Top Rank, the promoter of the Boxing After Dark show. “He put an honest effort into it.”
Lightweight prospect Felix Verdejo, a touted 22-year-old 2012 Olympian from Puerto Rico, weighed in at 133 for his HBO-televised co-feature against fellow unbeaten Ivan Najera, who weighed in at 131.4 for their scheduled 10-round bout.
Local light heavyweight standout Seanie Monaghan weighed in at 175.8 pounds for his scheduled 10-round undercard bout against veteran gatekeeper Fulcencio Zuniga, who came in at 174.8 pounds.
Unbeaten heavyweight hopeful George Arias weighed 227.2 for his scheduled eight-round undercard bout against Eric Carson, who weighed 198.2.
Junior welterweight prospect Mike Reed weighed 140.2 as did his opponent, Luis Joel Gonzalez, for their scheduled eight-round undercard bout.