By Gary Mushrow (@gary9690), Photos: Mikey Williams (@4MikeyWilliams) / Top Rank
(New York) June 14 – Former WBA featherweight champion Nicholas ‘Axe Man’ Walters (26-0, 21KO’s) continued his unbeaten streak last night with a convincing points decision against fringe contender Miguel Marriaga (20-1, 18KO’s) at The Theatre, Madison Square Garden.
Walters lost his world title on the scales before the fight, unable to shed the final weight to reach the 126 pound limit required.
The fight still went ahead, with Walters an unconfirmed ten pounds heavier than Marriaga come fight night, bringing his future plans in the featherweight division under serious scrutiny.
The 29 year old Walters, dropped Marriaga for the first time in his career in round four with a short counter right hand which had his opponent flailing on the ropes.
The fight at large remained a chess match, with both fighters throwing heavy punches throughout, more testament to a hevayweight contest than a bout in the lower weight divisions.
In the end, Walters avenged his amateur defeat to Marriaga with point score totals of 118-109, 117-110 and 119-108 tabled by judges ringside.
In the co-main event, rising Puerto Rican star Felix ‘Diamante’ Verdejo (18-0, 13KO’s) bested Ivan Najera (16-1, 8KO’s) over ten rounds to retain his WBO latino lightweight title.
The 22 year old Verdejo, scored a perfect left uppercut in round five which dropped Najera onto the seat of his pants, to the delight of the pro-Puerto Rican crowd.
Verdejo chose to fight fire-with-fire against Najera all night and always looked in control and more powerful than his overwhelmed opponent.
Another knockdown ensued in round seven, with Verdejo executing the perfect left hook off the back foot to put his opponent down again.
At the end of the twelve rounds, judges tabled almost shutout scores of 100-88 twice and 99-89 in favour of continuing rising sensation Verdejo.
Further down the card, rising light heavyweight star Seanie Monaghan (25-0, 16KO’s) improved his knockout ledger, with a tenth round technical stoppage of Fulgencio Zuniga (27-11-1, 24KO’s).