James Slater: Exciting heavyweight contender Travis “Freight Train” Walker upset the odds last Friday, as he went to Australia and halted local hero and betting favourite Kali Meehan via 6th-round TKO.
32-year-old Walker, now 39-7-1(31) needed the win - having been beaten in his previous fight and having also been the victim of some debatable decisions - and the powerful 245-pounder who has been called “a modern day Ron Lyle” now looks ahead to another big chance.
Always in shape, willing to travel anywhere to fight anyone, Walker has earned plenty of fans over the years. Here is what the hardworking warrior had to say to ESB earlier today:
James Slater: Thanks so much for your time, Travis - I’m a big fan. The win over Kali Meehan in Australia on March 7th, that was a great win for you and congratulations. Would you say this is the biggest win of your career so far?
Travis Walker: Yes, the biggest win they GAVE me - because I think I won the fight against [Ruslan] Chagaev.
J.S: I remember that fight, from Nov. 2010 (a close points win for Chagaev - 77-76, 77-75 and a way too wide 78-75, all for Chagaev)- I saw it and I thought you deserved the win.
T.W: Right. I did win that fight. I’d like a rematch, and I’d also like a fight with Denis Boystov, but I don’t think Universum will give me that opportunity - that fight [with Chagaev] was too close for them!
J.S: The win over Meehan, a stoppage win as it was, must open some doors for you, Travis. Were you surprised when his corner threw the towel in in the 6th?
T.W: No, I was not surprised - what with his age (41) and everything. He was taking a lot of punches; way too many shots.
J.S: So you deserve a big fight now, but who against, and will you get one in the U.S or will you have to travel again?
T.W: I’ll probably have to travel again. If I was guaranteed a fair shake, I’d love to fight Chagaev or Alex [Leapai] again. I know I can beat both of them.
J.S: The fight with Leapai (June 2010 - a 4th-round TKO win for Leapai) was an absolute classic, and I know you were stopped prematurely, after having had him down.
T.W: Right. I want to fight both guys again.
J.S: There’s no doubt, you’ve paid your dues and then some, Travis - what with all the travelling to get fights you’ve done. This website, the fans, after you’d won on Friday, they gave you a lot of credit as you deserve. Have you been getting much attention and respect after this win - have people been calling you?
T.W: Friends and family have called me. I know I have the fans, because whenever I fight in another guy’s backyard, I always put on a show and give my all, and the fans like me. I hit hard and I always give a good fight.
J.S: There’s no doubt about that, I’m a big fan of yours. Are you annoyed when a guy, say Jean Marc Mormeck, gets a shot at a Klitschko, when you’re clearly so much more deserving? Does that anger you?
T.W: Well, it’s not always fair. But that’s the ultimate goal: to fight one of the Klitschkos. I always want to fight the best in the world, and they’re the best right now. I’d love to fight either one and if it takes another two or three wins to get the shot, I’ll get them to get my chance. I’m going to stay in the gym this time. I had just two weeks notice for the [Kubrat Pulev] fight, and that’s no way enough - one week to train, another to travel. That’s not enough. But this time, I’m gonna stay in the gym, waiting for the next call [for a fight]. No way will one of these guys catch me when I’m out of shape again.
J.S: You were out of shape for the Pulev fight? I know you busted him up and lost a decision.
T.W: No, I wasn’t in top shape - just two weeks to get ready!
J.S: No way is that fair; I hear you. What do you think of Pulev?
T.W: Not much at all. If I was in top shape, I’d have stopped him in three-rounds.
J.S: You cut him with a punch, not a head clash, right?
T.W: Yes. The ref said it was a butt, but he looked at the promoter before [he made the call]. I think he [the ref] was afraid of the promoter.
J.S: You’ve never had it easy, Travis - and you’ve never had a break!
T.W: You need to have big money behind you. Like I say, the sport is not fair. I think the sport is in danger, and that it could vanish if fighters keep getting robbed - when the fighter that is supposed to win always wins.
J.S: I agree with you! When will you fight again? And I hope you get the break you deserve.
T.W: I’m ready now! I’m just waiting on the opportunity. But as I said, I’ll be ready this time. I’ll not get caught while I’m out of shape again!
J.S: Best of luck to you, Freight Train. Keep on rolling over guys!
T.W: Okay, thank you.