First off, I want to take this time to publicly thank Zach Walters. He granted me an interview back in December, before I had done any proving of myself. I had worked out at Horton’s in the past, but so had countless other boxing hopefuls. I really wanted to be able to show my admiration for this man, and thankfully we set up a meeting at a local coffee shop, Zach even bought my cup of joe. It’s my belief that Zach being willing to give me a chance opened many doors for other interviews. Thank you Zach.
Courtesy Walters Photography, all rights reserved
It was about a month ago when we made the announcement that Walters was going down to supper middleweight. It’s Zach’s opinion along with his team’s that supper middle is the ideal weight for him. Jungle’s last fight against Byron Mitchell, he weighed in at 172lbs, only 4 pounds off of his new 168lbs fight weight. Zach told us while he tried to put on some muscle bulk and weight, his body was more naturally suited for supper middle. As hard as Walters would try, he could not stack on the pounds while training. This is one of my favorite things about Horton fighters, they tend to walk around very close to their fight weight. In doing so, there is no drastic steps that need to be taken in cutting weight. This is probably one of the reasons Horton’s fighters are always exciting no matter the round.
This brings me to the conversation I had with Walters. He wanted to talk about some of the things he had been doing since his fight with Byron Mitchell. “Since my last fight, I’ve been overlooking some of what’s going on in the local boxing scene. Instead, I’ve been focusing on improving my boxing game as well as helping the other boxers in the gym. We have a lot going on at Horton’s Gym for the pros and the amateurs, not to mention collecting titles (Andy Kolle winning MN State title). The other boxers in the gym have been preparing themselves to make waves of their own in the boxing scene and I have been doing what I can to help them along. Some are debuting as pros and others are stepping up to tougher fights.”
As most know, I put up a post a few days ago about possible instate fights. Zach Walters vs Phil Williams was one of the match-ups suggested, and, I have to admit, it’s a fight I had been interested in seeing. I asked Zach about his thoughts on this fight. “While keeping my attention on my own boxing business, some of the finer points in the local fight scene have gone un-noticed. Things like Phil Williams’ continued cries about wanting a fight. He sees me as the man to fight if he is to make a name for himself. Sure, I can see that. Yes, I have the MN State title and nobody denies that I won it fair and square. I even retained it in defense. Our place in the fight scene has been in disproportion with me being an established fighter with proven drawing power and Phil being a boxer on the rise with minimal pull. I don’t think I need to educate anyone about how hard I have worked to get where I am. It has been a true blessing from God to have accomplished what I have in my boxing career. Phil, on the other hand, has not put in the work I have. I look at Phil as needing to prove himself. I don’t think he has, but none-the-less he won’t shut up about a fight.”
Picture of Zach at Super Middle, courtesy of Walters Photography
These statements really do make a lot of sense. Sometimes the fan in me gets carried away. I, like many others, have mentioned the possibility of a showdown between what I see as the two best lightheavies in the state. But, just because they are the two best lightheavies doesn’t mean it makes sense for them to fight. Zach has put in quite a bit more time and fought stiffer competition. Walters, (23,4), has been fighting profesionaly since 2002, Phil Williams, (10,1), made his debut in 2006 on an undercard of one of Horton’s events at Wessman Arena in Superior WI.
Zach Walters has heard much of the comments made by Phil, including ones after his ill-fated fight April 18. At weigh-ins for the bout, Phil left in disgust after having been given an opponent that weighed 10 pounds less than Williams fully clothed. He questioned aloud why Zach Walters wouldn’t fight him and if going down to 168 was a way to avoid him. Here are Zach’s thoughts on Phil’s constant requests to fight him. “You see, Phil had his pro debut on one of my undercards so I have not payed much attention to his crying about a fight. I’ve been hearing him talk for some time now. He’s been talking since he had two fights. Talk, talk, talk. Nobody would have payed to see us fight back then. But now we have a different scenario. He’s built up his record and has now become annoying.”
Phil Williams has a very big fight coming up June 5 in Hinckley. He will be facing Jaidon Codrington (19,2) in a major step up for The Drill. Zach Walters, being the class act and inteligent fighter he is, wants Minnesota to shine that night. “I don’t want to take away his focus from his upcoming bout on June 5th. I want him to win. He is a Minnesota fighter and when one of us succeeds we all rise up with them as fighters. I have my business to take care of as well. On June 18th I am fighting at Super-middleweight and I’m set to fight. I am already sharp and the fight is still a ways out. Super middle is where I belong. But since I already had the Minnesota Light Heavyweight title before all this, I feel obligated to move back up to defend it. I know Phil has wanted the title for some time now, but there is no way I’ll give it to him. I’m not just going to vacate the title for him to deface it by fighting a journeyman to get the honors of State Champion. I busted my tail to get that belt and I don’t like the idea of letting the title go.”
It looks as though Zach “JungleBoy” Walters is willing to do the same favor for Phil as he did for me, admittedly a much more painful favor. Zach is ready to put his status as Minnesota’s best lightheavyweight on the line, even though his foe has yet to truely prove himself. Although, a win for Williams June 5th does make him much more qualified. Jungle wants to give The Drill this message:
“Message to Phil:
Well, OK then. Let’s do it Phil. You know my people so call them up. Lets make this happen. Have your management call up mine and lets do this. You are a man that likes to speak for himself. So, if you like, you can contact Shark yourself, if that is what you want. Need a place and date? This fall in Duluth at the DECC Arena. There you go. It seats 8000. Let’s pack it up and scrap it out. You know how we do things in the Northland. We treat fighters good and you’ll get the same fair treatment you always have, minus going home with a win. I told you, Phil, we’d fight when the dollars made cents. Remember that? This is fight business. Money talks. It’s time to do business. Get Some!”
Check out the Decc here.
I spoke with Chuck Horton about the prospect of another major show this fall. Horton’s promotions already have a card May 21 and announced an historic card Grandma’s Marthon week. Chuck seems quite excited about the prospect of a showdown this fall at what will be a newly renovated DECC. “Zach Walters vs Phil Williams headlining that show would be great. That is the sort of card where we could show off the wares of several different camps. I would love to bring in fighters from Seconds Out and In Step promotions as well as other camps. We as promoters can work together to put on one of the finest shows in some time.”
2009 is really a great year to be a Minnesota boxing fan. We are lucky to have some great proven boxing profesionals along with a growing list of boxing prospects. With names like Zach Walters, Andy Kolle, Caleb Truax, Phil Williams, Joey Abell, and so many more, there are lots of shows to be made. And, fortunately for us fans, it looks like those putting in the work are looking to make them.