Chicago boxer Michael Walker went pro in 2004 and was undefeated for four straight years. He had just signed on for another fight in January and was looking for more bouts to support his daughter.
Thursday morning, the 35-year-old Walker was found shot to death in a gangway in the Chatham neighborhood on the South Side. Police were releasing no details of the death, but his friends said Walker may have died during a robbery.
“Even his last opponent stated that he was a charismatic guy,” said Damian Walton, Walker's manager. “This is real devastating news.”
About 8:45 a.m., an officer on patrol heard gunshots and stopped in the area of 82nd Street and Drexel Avenue, police said. Moments later, the officer saw Walker emerge from a gangway and collapse to the ground, police said. He told the officer he had been shot.
Walker was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Police believe the motive is robbery, but it doesn’t appear anything was taken from Walker, police said.
Walton said he spoke Thursday to a boxing associate who used to train Walker and learned of the killing, which he said may have happened during a robbery. Police wouldn't comment.
Before going pro in 2004, Walker boxed for several years in Chicago’s Golden Gloves tournament, winning his weight class in 2000 and 2002, then going undefeated from 2004 to 2008, according to records of his fights. Walton had just agreed to a fight in January in Mississippi, and had talked to Walker on Monday about traveling to California next month to train, he said.
Walton said Walker was a charismatic person who “cared about his daughter a lot.”
“He was telling me how he wanted to make a little extra money to support his daughter,” who is about 9 years old, by participating in more fights, Walton said in a phone interview Thursday night.
Walton said Walker had a well-respected record in the boxing world, and also had a reputation for being a “straight-up guy.”
At his last recorded fight in July in Memphis, Walton said Walker’s opponent told him it was a hard fight because “it was almost like fighting a friend.”
Tribune reporter Liam Ford contributed
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