According to Stephen Jones, president of the Jamaica Boxing Board (JBB), former world champion Nicholas ‘Axeman’ Walters had planned to return to the ring before the coronavirus pandemic broke out.

Walters has been out of the ring since 2016, when he was stopped by Vasiliy Lomachenko in seven rounds.

Coming into that fight, Walters (26-1-1, 21 KOs) had been out of the ring for a year.

Even before the loss to Lomachenko, there were problems brewing in Walters career.

He failed to make weight for a bout with Miguel Marriaga in 2015. And then he fought to a draw with Jason Sosa, although most observers felt Walters had done enough to win.

Jones revealed that the 34-year-old former champion was in the process of coming back.

“Based on the conversation I had with him, I truly think he is still in the sport and this would have been the year he would be coming back. When we spoke earlier this year in person, he was talking to his managers about coming back and coming back with a bang and he wanted to use Jamaica as a platform to do that. But then the COVID hit and I haven’t spoke to him since to know if he still has that mindset. But boxing was still his passion and his mindset was good and he was speaking about going back to that top level,” Jones told The Sunday Gleaner.

“He knows what it takes to get to the top and he knows what steps he has to take, so it’s just a matter of his mind and his mind was ready to put in the work and get back in the game. He was in Panama getting himself back in the right condition and his first objective was getting back to a weight that was comfortable.

“I definitely think it is possible (to get back to the top) but he has to want it. He has the talent but that alone won’t do,” Jones noted. “This is boxing and rest and rust go hand-in-hand and when other people are on top of their game, you can’t just leave off and come back, as there are good fighters in various classes. But he is a tremendous talent, so if he puts in the work he has a very good chance of being in the top ten again. He has left a lot on the table and before too much time passes he should come back and collect it.”