With his convincing TKO win over Carl Daniels Saturday night, “Jungle Boy” Zach Walters finds himself a titleholder, albeit a minor “alphabet title” (the WBC-ABU light heavy belt).
So where does he go from here? His own roadmap was spelled out on his blog weeks ago, and it’s been cited on this blog before. But in case you missed it, here’s the plan:
“February 23, 2008…the day I fight for my first big title, The WBC- African Title, also known as the ABU Title. My team was able to secure a fight for the African title through my living in Madagascar for 11 years as a missionary kid. Ever since I left the island I wanted to go back somehow. This fight is a big step in that direction. The big picture for this fight is to win [the] title, defend it in Africa a few times, then win a world title, and make my first defense of the world title in Madagascar.”
The suggestion here is that Walters should defend a time or two in the US before heading to Africa. There are several benefits to staying put for the time being:
Security – I’m talking about career security, not security-guard type safety. In the US and western Europe there’s a fantastic amount of documentation of who the available opponents are, and pretty good controls over the judging and refereeing. The result is relatively fewer surprises and a reasonable expectation of a fair outcome. Who’s to say that a white guy from America will get a fair shake in Africa?
Logistics/Revenue – There’s a lot of work, planning, and expense involved in traveling overseas, and that will all require a lot of money. Your star is rising, Jungle Boy, but it hasn’t risen all the way yet. If you increase your earning power here in the states before spending all that money and effort traveling to Africa, you’ll be able to do more and spend more once you’re in Africa.
Fame – You’ll never get much exposure fighting in Africa. I understand your desire to return to Madagascar, and I support it. But a few appearances on ESPN, Showtime, or HBO would make you far more marketable. The average American fight fan may have heard your moniker, but he doesn’t know your real name or your story. Once people know who you are, they’ll be interested and they’ll follow you more closely. I’d like to see you on TV myself – I know there are others who feel as I do.
But above all, congratulations are in order for our local hero. You’ve made quite a career already, and Lord willing, there’s a lot more to come. Way to go, champ!