Miami-based boxer with a Master’s degree seen as a ‘rare breed’

Kamauriay Walker had his first boxing match when he was 11 years old.

It didn’t last long.

“They said ‘ding’, and, the next thing I knew, the kid was on top of me,” Walker said. “I lost that fight and the next two as well.”

Things quickly got better for Walker. Taught by his father, Marcus, who boxed a bit in the Navy, Walker, at age 12, rallied to win the Florida Police Athletic League title in Fort Pierce.

Walker went on to post a 76-23 amateur record before winning his only pro fight so far, scoring a second-round technical knockout over Keasen Freeman last month (April 6).

But what differentiates Walker from most fighters isn’t his left jab or his right cross.

It’s his brainpower and his academic dedication.

Last week, Walker, 24, earned his Master’s degree in Sports Administration from St. Thomas University.

“I looked at the landscape,” Walker said when asked why he decided to earn a Master’s. “Employers are starting to look at a Bachelor’s degree like a high school diploma.

“By getting a Master’s, I will stand out.”

Walker, a super lightweight at 6-foot-1 and 140 pounds, acknowledged that doing college coursework while training to become a boxing champ takes discipline.

“Being a college kid in Miami, everyone my age is out partying,” he said. “But I have remained focused because I know I have such a short window as a boxer.”

Earning a Master’s while becoming a pro boxer makes Walker a “rare breed”, according to his father.

Chris Algieri, who has a Bachelor’s degree, is one of the only championship boxers who has reached that level of education during his pro career. In fact, Algieri carries the nickname “The Fighting Collegian.”

As for Walker’s boxing skills, it remains to be seen if the man who has been given the nicknamed of “King Kam” can one day be viewed as a rare breed in the ring.

But Walker is certainly getting quality coaching. He is being trained by Glen Johnson, who was Ring Magazine’s Boxer of the Year in 2004 after his upset win over Roy Jones Jr. (ninth-round knockout).

Johnson, who has been training Walker for more than four years, said he would like his protégé to make a couple of adjustments.

“He’s got to get stronger,” Johnson said, “and I want him to be a bit more aggressive. He’s a finesse fighter, and I want him to be a bit more physical.”

Johnson, who trains Walker at Miami’s Lion Heart Boxing gym, said his fighter has “amazing” ability.

“He’s fast,” Johnson said. “He’s got good reflexes, and he’s talented.”

Walker, who grew up watching old-school fighters such as Thomas Hearns and Floyd Mayweather Jr., is known as a tactician in the ring.

“I’m fundamentally sound,” Walker said. “I feel like I have a high ‘boxing IQ’ for someone just coming into the pro game.”

Walker’s overall IQ was useful during his time at STU, and the connection between the boxer and the university figures to get even stronger this fall.

At the school’s graduation ceremony last week, STU President David A. Armstrong, J.D., praised Walker for his academic ability.

Further, Armstrong announced that STU will host a Walker fight this fall, giving him a “home-field advantage.”

Walker said he had no idea Armstrong was going to make that announcement on graduation day.

“A smile lit up on my face,” Walker said. “It’s a blessing.”

Marcus Walker said he believes the fight will happen on a Friday night, Oct. 25. That’s one day before STU’s homecoming football game, which would ensure that lots of the school’s alumni are present that weekend.

The fight could be held outdoors or inside the school’s basketball gym, the Fernandez Family Center.

“We want to make this an event,” Marcus Walker said. “We want to bring that Las Vegas atmosphere to St. Thomas University.”