Walker’s first fight at home delayed
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
Heavyweight boxer Travis Walker will have to deal with his anxiety a little longer. His much-anticipated homecoming has been delayed for a month.
Walker is looking forward to fighting at home, hoping to rejuvenate a fan base that he believes will give his career a second-chance. He’s never had a fight at home, although many of his bouts had been shown on national television.
“I’m very anxious because I’m fighting at home,” Walker said in a telephone interview from his training camp in Atlanta. “There is nothing like that and I’ve been wanting to do this.”
Walker will get his chance on July 16 at the Civic Center. Rumble League, promoter of the show, said it was forced to move it from the original June 18 date because of injured fighters.
The card is being promoted as Vegas to Tally, with eight bouts. Walker said his fight is scheduled for 12 rounds, although there is no title at stake.
Walker, pronouncing himself fight to fight, said his biggest struggle with the delay is just accepting it.
“I can deal with it as having more time to get ready or I could be angry because I put all this time and money into training,” Walker said.
At age 36, Walker said having a good turnout for his homecoming will be pivotal to resetting his career. He figured he might have had more success earlier if he had a solid fan base at home.
It’s not too late to try that approach, he said.
“If I get a really good backing, as I should have had from the beginning,” Walker said, “it would help to give me the exposure I need; the belief in myself.”
Walker’s first step to righting his career was to turn to veteran trainer Yahya McClain. He is having more say-so in who Walker fights and each bout is intended to get him closer to a title fight, McClain said.
“The big thing is keeping him mentally focus and par to the course,” McClain said. “A fighter like Travis; it’s more mental than physical or anything else.”
Walker is coming into the Tallahassee fight with a 39-14-1 record, which includes 31 knockouts.
Since joining up with McClain in Atlanta last fall, Walker has been concentrating on fixing the mistakes that led to his current slide.
“We will tighten everything up,” McClain said. “Travis is one punch away from being the heavyweight champion of the world.
“We’ve got to get back to the basics and that’s what we are doing.”