Duluth boxing coach in the running for 'hottest husband'

It has been 2 1/2 years since Zach "Jungle Boy" Walters retired from competitive boxing --long enough for the words "knockout" to take on a new meaning.

Zach Walters at a press conference in 2006
Zach Walters talks about an upcoming fight during a press conference in Superior in 2006. (File / News Tribune)

It has been 2½ years since Zach "Jungle Boy" Walters retired from competitive boxing --long enough for the words "knockout" to take on a new meaning.

Walters is one of 25 finalists for Redbook magazine's annual America's Hottest Husbands competition. The insurance agent and boxing coach was nominated by his wife, Shannon Walters, who shared with the magazine the back story on their relationship and how -- now that she is pregnant -- Walters leaves her little notes about what an amazing mother she will be.

Walters said there were a lot of reasons behind nominating her husband.

"I think he's good-looking and very sweet," she said. "The looks on top of the personality and the relationship we have. He does a lot; he's an inspiration to me; he's supportive of me. I thought it was worth a shot."

Shannon Walters is an assistant fashion buyer for Maurices and has subscriptions to tons of fashion magazines, her husband said. She was flipping through Redbook last summer when she saw a blurb about the contest -- with a top prize of a dream vacation package. That was enough to sell Zach Walters on an entry.


"It's just been kind of humorous on my end," Walters said. "Redbook likes me, and I guess I like Redbook."

Earlier this week he was named one of 25 finalists out of thousands of submissions. Voting is open at through Nov. 10. The hottest of the Hottest Husbands gets a six-day trip for two to the Virgin Island. You have Shannon Walters' permission to give him a gaze: She said she's cool with Redbook readers doing a little ogling.

Walters' fellow Hottest Husband candidates are a mix of men in their early 20s to 50, firemen, businessmen and a professional soccer player. Two other contestants are from Minnesota. Walters' write up includes a photograph of him standing on a beach looking casual in a plaid button-up shirt and khakis, his hands in his pockets.

The couple met when they were in college at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Walters said he fell for his wife when she gave him a lift back to Duluth from Fergus Falls, Minn.

"She can light up a room," Walters said. "She's got a real charm. She's got a brilliant smile. She's one of those fun people you want to be with you. She jumps into people's lives and makes them feel special."

Walters announced his retirement from boxing in December 2009, finishing with a 24-5 professional record and 19 knockouts. He opened Jungle Boy Boxing Gym earlier this year and has continued to work as a motivational speaker. He showed his softer side during the Minnesota Ballet's Celebrity Dance Challenge in 2009, dancing to "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis. He and his partner won the title of Most Romantic.

Christa Lawler is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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