It’s customary for a boxer who has recently lost for the first time – or for the first time in a long time – to be served a tomato can upon his return to the ring. Thus is it being done with Zach “Jungle Boy” Walters, who was shockingly and suddenly knocked out by Shawn Hammack on August 31 after building an unbeaten streak that had reached eight fights and eighteen months. The circumstances of that unexpected loss are well known: Walters and Hammack had gone at it for seven and a half rounds of an eight round fight, Walters was comfortably ahead on the scorecards, and Hammack landed a one-in-a-thousand punch. The Jungle Boy made a valiant attempt to regain his orientation and finish the fight, but was unable and the fight was stopped at 2:28 of the final round with Walters out on his feet and getting pummeled.
Walters, now 23-3 with 18 kayos, seems to suffer from no lack of confidence, saying “I’d fight Hammack in a heartbeat. He got lucky in that last round, but luck counts in boxing.” But the situation demands a tomato can, and so one has been retained for the occasion: Cory Phelps of Kentucky. What does Walters know about Phelps? “He is coming down to light-heavy to box me after four fights at cruiserweight. He looks like he is about my height and has fast hands.” Though Phelps’ 13-4-1 record looks sporty at first glance, it is illusory. Phelps has three victories against Tyron Mack (now 4-46), one against Kevin Rainey (now 2-28), and one against Eric Starr (now 15-37-3), and he has never beaten an opponent with a winning record (though he did manage a six-round draw against Bobby Gunn, who was 18-3 going in). What Phelps brings to the table is clear: he is a credible-looking opponent, he has been in the ring with several good prospects, and he has been around the block a few times, having fought in nine states plus once in Germany. Says the always candid Walters, “I believe I’ll still reach my ultimate goal. Right now I have no choice but to keep going and fight the guy in front of me.”
Walters and Phelps headline an October 25 card to be held at Mortorelli Gym in Superior, WI. The remainder of the card looks like this:
- Zach Walters (23-3 with 18 kayos) -vs- Cory Phelps (13-4-1 with 7 kayos), light heavyweights, 10 rounds
- Gary Eyer (4-0-1 with 3 kayos) -vs- Scott Robinson (3-8 with 2 kayos), lightweights, 6 rounds
- Andson Griggs (1-0) -vs- Silas Ortley (3-5 with 2 kayos), middleweights, 4 rounds
- RJ Laase (4-0 with 2 kayos) -vs- Clinton Bendickson (1-0 with 1 kayo), light welterweights, 4 rounds
- Skulli Armannsson (1-0 with 1 kayo) -vs- TBD, heavyweights, 4 rounds