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February 3, 2016


[Combat Zone Press Release]

SALEM, NH (February 2, 2016)- If Steve Walker can emerge from the Combat Zone cage with the Heavyweight Amateur Kickboxing title Friday night, the significance of the championship belt will wrap around his entire community.

“It will give the children hope,” said the 29-year-old, who hails from Roxbury, MA and brings his 5-2 record into the fight against Franklin Johnson (2-1) at Rockingham Park. “They can’t relate to the champion fighters they see on TV. They think, ‘He lives way over there and I’m here’. But with that belt around my waist, they can see I’m the guy from here that turned his life around. They can see me and touch me. They know I'm real. They can think ‘If he could do it, then I could do it’. It will give them hope."
Walker has morphed from an angry and troubled kid on Boston’s mean streets into a full-time outreach worker and youth counselor at Roxbury’s Whittier Street Health Center. The transformation came with a price tag.

“My environment was my role model and when you’re a part of the environment, that’s what you see all of the time so you end up being a part of that. You try to fit in,” said Walker, who was one of 11 siblings raised by a single mother. “I was hanging with a bad crowd, making bad decisions, and I did some bad things. I sold some drugs and was incarcerated when I was 17.
“But that changed my life. It made me realize I needed a different path. Who I was then is not who I am now.”

The man he is today is a single father with sole custody of four children- aged 9, 4, 3, and newborn- who is dedicated and determined to being a strong role model to his own kids and to those in the community at large.

He’s also a talented and focused fighter loaded with work ethic. The desire to become a fighter was one of the first steps on his new path and one day he found Hard Knocks Gym in Hyde Park, MA through a Groupon deal and a free trial.

“Steve is a very stable guy, which is even more impressive considering the environment he came from. He never had many breaks in life. From the first time he walked through my door, he’s been very humble, appreciative and respectful,” said Bill Newcomb, the owner of Hard Knocks and Walker’s trainer and coach. “He listens and he learns fast.”

Walker has only been training for about 18 months and already has an unusually high number of bouts (7) on his record in the past year, including a triumphant win over the reigning World Kickboxing Association champion in New York City.

“That was a big step up for Steve, especially since he started from zero,” said Newcomb, who is fast-tracking Walker. “All he’s got left to do to become the champion is go out there and fight well and I expect him to, but every opponent is always dangerous, especially in the heavyweight division. When you get over 200 pounds, they hit pretty hard.”

Walker, who fights southpaw and was a unanimous decision winner on the Combat Zone 55 card, said he has a few tricks up his sleeve and has every intention of capturing Combat Zone’s first Heavyweight Amateur Kickboxing title.

“I’m a positive and loveable guy, but in the ring, I am a totally different person. I have to be because my goal is for that belt to be around my waist,” he said. “At the end of the day there can only be one heavyweight champion and that champion is going to be me.”

Walker likened the troubled kids in Roxbury to dead cars only in need of a battery jump.
"I believe that. They’re just looking for a jump. I mean to be their jumper cable," he said. "If you dig deep in your soul and chase your dreams, you can do it. Look at me. I had a felony and I turned my life around. You don’t have to go down the same path I went down. I’m going to be there and be their mentor. Just like I wish someone was there for me, I want to be there for them. If I’d had somebody, I don’t think I would have gotten into trouble in the past. I want to win this fight for them. I want to be their hope."

The Walker-Franklin fight is one of the 11 amateur and pro MMA and kickboxing matches on the highly-competitive card, which is highlighted by the main event between New England MMA pro legends Nuri “The Shark” Shakir (18-21) from Nashua, NH and Brett “The Hammer” Oteri (12-7) of Norwood, MA at 180 pounds.

Oteri is currently ranked #6 in the New England welterweight division and Shakir is ranked #8 as a middleweight, according to
The best adjudged amateur fighter of the night will take home the trophy from Chang’s Taekwondo America in Methuen, MA.

Tickets to Combat Zone 57 are $40, $50, $75, $90 and $120 for ringside seating and parking is free. Doors to the racetrack’s Sports Club open at 5:30 PM and the first fight taps off at 7:00 PM.
For tickets and more information visit or call co-promoter Jamison Kattar at 978-361-6772.

The "Clash of the Titans" card, subject to change is:
                                                    “*** Amateur Kickboxing ***
185lbs   Connor Duffy 0-0 (Revere, MA) vs Pericles George 0-0 (Pawtucket, RI)
185lbs   Lavelle Wesley 0-0 (Revere, MA) vs Matt Gordon 0-0 (Manchester, NH)
155lbs Freddy Bermudez 0-0 (Pawtucket, RI) vs Ramano Medina 0-0 (Manchester, NH)
160lbs Alex Dolan 0-0 (Medway, RI) vs Ray Welch 0-0 (Manchester, NH)
*** Amateur MMA ***
145lbs   Kurt Daniels 0-3 (Wakefield, MA) vs Dan Ward 0-5 (Plaistow, NH)
145lbs Fernando Lopez 0-1 (No. Waterboro, ME) vs Brandon Marotte 0-0 (Plaistow, NH)
155lbs CJ Kevlin 2-2 (Gilford, NH) vs Nick Fiore 0-0 (Salem, NH)
130lbs   James Palmer 0-1 (Wakefield, MA) vs Kevin Flanagan 0-0 (Manchester, NH)
*** Professional Kickboxing ***
185lbs   Buck Pineau 0-1 (No. Waterboro, ME) vs Ralph Johnson 9-16 (Worcester, MA)
*** Amateur Kickboxing Heavyweight Title Fight ***
225lbs Franklin Johnson 2-1 (Pawtucket, RI) vs Steve Walker 5-2 (Boston, MA)
*** Professional MMA ***
155lbs   Devin Powell 4-1 (So. Berwick, ME) vs Jeff Anderson 11-10 (Lincoln, RI)
*** CZ 57 Main Event  MMA***
180lbs Nuri Shakir 18-21 (Nashua, NH) vs Brett Oteri 12-7 (Norwood, MA)