NEW YORK — Travis Walker hopes to become a great heavyweight one day.
Undefeated in his first 22 professional fights, Walker (22-0-1, 17 KOs) will make his first nationally televised main event appearance on Saturday, April 6, when he tries to avenge an Olympic loss meets George Garcia (13-0, 4 KOs) in a 10-round bout. It will be the first time in his career that Walker will face another undefeated fighter as a professional.
The bout will be part of a televised live doubleheader on Showtime’s increasingly popular “ShoBox: The New Generation” series from the Target Center in Minneapolis, MN. Rochester, Minnesota’s own Raphael Butler (25-3, 20 KOs) will compete in an 8–round heavyweight contest against unbeaten Nigerian Teke Oruh (13-0-1, 6 KOs) in the co-feature.
“This is the most important fight of my career,” Walker said. “Why? …Because, it’s my next fight. I always look at the fight ahead. I don’t look behind. This is my biggest fight ever. It means a lot. A lot is at stake. This fight can make my career that much better.”
Walker is a young, strong 27-year-old from Tallahassee, Florida. Now residing in Colorado, began his amateur career in 2000. Standing at 6’ 4,” 235 pounds, Walker compiled a 24-8 record that included a 2003 Golden Gloves Title.
Walker isn’t overly impressed with the current state of the heavyweight division. Walker believes that he can one day topple whoever is the cream of the heavyweight crop. That distinction is currently shared amongst: IBF champion Wladimir Klitschko, WBA boss Nikolai Valuev, WBC titlist Oleg Maskaev, and WBO kingpin Shannon Briggs.
Also, heavyweights like Samuel Peter, James Toney, Hasim Rahman, Lamon Brewster, David Tua, and John Ruiz are solid contenders. Considering the politics of fighting on network television, the sanctioning bodies ranking system, mandatory challengers, and selection of “attractive opponents,” Walker is optimistic that he has the answer as to how he can break into the top of the heavyweight class.
“It’s going to take patience” Walker added. “This is the fight game. You have to be careful with every move you make. One move can end your career. A loss is always bad. My manger and promoters, I don’t ask them any questions. I feel they know what they are doing. I don’t say ‘I need to be fighting someone else.’”
Walker, who is still competing in the early stages of his career, is not fantasizing on fights that may be three or four years away. Walker is focused on Garcia, 24, of Glendale, Arizona, who started his professional career in 2004.
He knocked out four of his first five opponents, but his last eight fights have gone the distance. Garcia, who at 5-feet-10, is much shorter than Walker, has never fought past the eighth round. Walker has only once.
“This fight can probably put me in the top-20 in the world. It will boost my career to the next level”
The last time Walker and Garcia met was on February 20, 2004 at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Successful completion of the Tournament would have meant that Walker would have represented the United States in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
Walker lost a 30-25 points decision, which ultimately ended Walker’s Olympic hopes.
Although there is no animosity that Walker has toward Garcia and says that his Olympic trials loss is “nothing personal Walker added: “I don’t think too much about my opponent. I believe there’s nobody out there working harder than me. I can’t be beat.”
Walker appears to be focused and is not distracted by the potential glitter and glamour that television can bring. Walker is focusing on training for his next fight and is not worried about posing for the cameras.
“The more you win, the more it will come,” Walker says of the impact television exposure can impact his career. “I’ve had 22 fights, been on TV three times. I’m not money hungry. A lot of guys get messed up because, they’re money hungry. Money will come. I’m here for the fight.
Amongst one of Walker’s heroes has always been his mother. Walker credits his mother for being a driving force and primary motivation his career.
“I’m a hardworking, humble person,” Walker says of himself. “I like to have fun. I’m a family oriented person. It’s only my mother, my sister, and brother. We experienced hard times growing up. My mother, Dianne, was a struggling single parent. A lot is deserving towards her. I got into boxing to do a lot for my mom.”
Walker didn’t become seriously interested in boxing until he saw Evander Holyfield’s first fight with Riddick Bowe in November of 1992. Walker was impressed with Holyfield’s heart, determination, and classic display of boxing skills in one of the greatest heavyweight title fights in the last 30 years.
Walker also inspired by Holyfield’s resiliency against Bowe in the epic 10th round. “Holyfield was one of my best influences. The way he trained. He’s a guy that goes to the next level in training. Holyfield trained harder than any of his opponents,” Walker added.
Walker has a tremendous respect and admiration for everything Holyfield has accomplished in his career. Holyfield is the only fighter to win the undisputed world heavyweight title and unify the cruiserweight championships at 190.
Walker was impressed with his idols recent performance. At age 44, Holyfield is coming fresh off a third-round TKO of Vinny Maddalone. “I still get excited when he fights. He’s still an exciting fighter. He’s still pretty good.”
Whether Walker develops to be as good as Holyfield or any of the other top heavyweight contenders remains to be seen. Walker certainly has the right influences to keep his mind and career going in the right direction.