'Spring Sting' boxer fights for a cause — his city’s youth

By Guy N. Limbeck

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

Sure, Travis Walker wants to be an elite heavyweight boxer for personal success. But he also wants to give back.

Walker, a native of Tallahassee, Fla., has been training in Rochester for more than a week for his fight at Graham Arena on Saturday against Earl Ladson as part of the "Spring Sting" card. Walker takes a 27-1-1 record into the bout against Ladson (13-18-1).

Walker is the ninth-ranked heavyweight in the world in the WBC. He admits Saturday’s bout against Ladson is more of a tuneup.


"It’s a work fight, a stay-busy fight," Walker said. "But you take nobody lightly."

The 28-year-old Walker grew up playing football in Tallahassee. He figured that his future was in sports, so when football didn’t work out, he turned to boxing at age 21. He didn’t turn pro until he was 24, but he still has lofty expectations.

"The goal is to make it to the top and help my family," Walker said. "Also to help my city."

He would like to build a youth center in Tallahassee, a city of about 200,000.

"It would be great to have a place where they could all get together," he said of the city’s youth.

Walker, who is 6-foot-41⁄2 and fights at about 240 pounds, hopes to land a big fight this summer, possibly in July, that would air on television.

He currently lives in Houston, Texas, but he travels to numerous locations to train. He came to train and fight in Rochester because of Raphael Butler. Rochester’s Butler and Walker both have the same manager — Steve Manisteri of Houston.

"We’ve had some pretty intense sparring," Walker said about Butler.


Walker also said he has been doing some different training exercises at Fourth Street Gym, some of which he might continue to use in the future.

Walker also hopes his future includes a chance to fight for the heavyweight title. Such a payday for Walker would most likely benefit the youth of Tallahassee.

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