Despite losing his World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight super title on the scales last June 13 when he came in one pound overweight, Jamaican boxing star Nicholas ‘The Axeman’ Walters gave a superb performance at the Madison Square Garden Theatre against Miguel Marriaga to win his 12-round non-title fight by unanimous decision. Tonight, he seeks to show the world that he is still championship material when he takes on American Jason Sosa over 10 rounds in the co-feature bout on an HBO promotion. The other featured bout is a WBA heavyweight title contest between Luis Ortiz and Bryant Jennings, and the venue is the Turning Stone Resort and Casino, in Verona, New York. An interesting note with regard to tonight’s fight is that it will be in the super featherweight division, which is 130 pounds. Speaking with The Gleaner yesterday, Walters said that the decision was taken by his camp to make him fight at the higher weight class, to see how he handles it. “In boxing, three pounds of additional weight makes a lot of difference, and I just want to see how comfortable I am at that weight,” he said. He added: “There is big money in the featherweight class, particularly with Lomachenko on the horizon, but if I feel comfortable fighting at 130, I may just move up. There are some good boxers up there too, and the Japanese Super champion (Takashi) Uchiyama is a crowd pleaser. A fight against him would pull in some good money. “I am just going into this fight with an open mind. I have trained hard, I am feeling good and very strong, and I am going to let it all hang out.” STUDYING THE OPPONENT Asked about his opponent and whether he had watched tapes on him, Walters replied: “I don’t watch tapes. My trainers do that and then make suggestions as to how I should fight an opponent. When we get into the ring, however, I see what my opponent has to offer, and I then show him what I have. After that, may the best man win.” Based on the records of the two fighters, tonight’s fight promises to be explosive. Walters has a 26-0 record with 21 knockouts and Sosa has an 18-1 record with 14 knockouts. Sosa is on a 13-fight knockout streak. Walters has an 81 per cent knockout ration, while Sosa’s is 64 per cent. Because of these statistics, the predictions are that the fight will not go the distance, and Walters is starting as the favourite. Walters’ dad, Job, who has been assisting with his training for over a month, is confident that his son will win. “This will be an early Christmas present for Jamaica,” Job Walters said.
UWI FC held Tivoli Gardens to a 0-0 draw in their Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) football match at the Edward Seaga Complex yesterday. The result lifted the university team to 39 points, while Tivoli inched up to 33. The home team was more dangerous throughout the contest, but resolute defending from the visitors kept their chances at a minimum. Their best opportunity fell midway the half when Andre McFarlane’s corner landed between a host of Tivoli players in the area, but no one could capitalise on the loose ball. UWI’s head coach Marcel Gayle thought his team showed character to get a hard earned point. “We are more mature in the league now. We will not always get a good game for 90 minutes, so today, we had to grind out a point. We went down a man early in the second-half and we showed courage and determination,” he said. “But we are coming off a loss on the road and we are still on the road and it’s wonderful to come to Tivoli and get a point. Going forward, these are the games we want to play, where we grind out victories and grind out a point, so this is a feather in UWI’s hat,” he added. Tivoli’s assistant coach Damion Gordon thought there was a lack of cutting edge from his team. “We should have won the game, but it’s football and we didn’t play with much urgency and we lacked the killer instinct. Tivoli, over years, had that killer instinct and we need to get it back,” said the former Tivoli captain. In another early game, Portmore (54) missed a great opportunity to go back atop the league after they were held to a 2-2 draw by relegation-threatened Reno (32) at Frome Complex. Reno took the lead twice through Renario Downswell (33rd, 84th). Portmore secured a point with strikes from Tremaine Stewart (70th) and Ricardo Morris (90th). Montego Bay United lead with 55 points. Yesterday’s Results Tivoli Gardens 0 UWI FC 0 Reno FC 2 Portmore United 2 Humble Lion 1. Harbour View 1. Waterhouse 2. Rivoli 1 Today’s game 8:40 p.m. Arnett Gardens vs Boys’ Town at Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex
LONDON (AP):Less than 24 hours before the global football spotlight falls on Leicester in their bid to win the top tier for the first time, Newcastle came out best in the scrapping at the other end of the English Premier League yesterday.The Magpies moved out of the drop zone for the first time since February after midfielder Andros Townsend’s superb free kick gave Newcastle a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.”The victory means a lot. It gives us momentum, confidence and a connection with the fans,” said Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez.Sunderland again had to rely on its top scorer Jermain Defoe, with the striker grabbing a last-minute equaliser from the penalty spot in a 1-1 draw against Stoke, who took the lead through striker Marko Arnautovic.”Where would we be without Jermain Defoe?” said Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce before answering his own question. “Relegated probably.”Despite drawing, Sunderland dropped into the relegation zone, one point behind 17th-place Newcastle and one point ahead of 19th-place Norwich, who lost 1-0 at Arsenal after Danny Welbeck’s goal in the 59th.”The last thing you can do down in the dogfight is feel sorry for yourselves,” said Norwich manager Alex Neil. “We didn’t get what we deserved.”Both Sunderland and Norwich have three games left while Newcastle have two.At the top, leaders Leicester can win the title by beating Manchester United today.