Irvin Wolkow was his real name and he was the son a Russian Jewish Father and a German Jewish Mother both who immigrated to the US in the 1880's. He had an older brother named Archie who later served as his manager.
He was arrested in 1916 as part of a crack down on under age youths boxing. The story was national news for a few days.
- 1921: Amateur -- L3 to Ben Pontheau, March 16, 1921 at MSG
At the time of his debut he was listed as "former national lightweight champion" (New York Times 9-25-1921)
1921 he was the New York State Champion Amateur at 135. (Brooklyn Daily Eagle)
In a story dated 2-20-1921 the Brooklyn Eagle called Walker "Brooklyn's greatest amateur boxer since Terry McGovern". In the story it says 19 year old Walker was already somewhat of a star clerk on Wall Street and would quite soon be commanding a salary of $3000 annually so that a career in professional boxing was not a given. The story also goes on to say he had been offered $1200 for his professional boxing debut and thought he could do $10,000 his first year. Story says he had about 250 amateur fights at that time and had lost 5. He complains in the story that the 1919 loss to Corbett was unjust. He had been New York Metro Golden Gloves champ at 108, 115, 125 and 135. He had amateur wins over Sammy Seiger, Bobby Josephs and Charley Pilkington.
There was much speculation as to why Walker failed to file for entry in the 1920 Olympic Trials with no real consensus as to why he did not. (Brooklyn Eagle 7-13-1920)
By 1919 Walker, fighting at 125, was already a major star in the amateurs (Pittsburgh Press 4-13-1919)
In 1919 he lost the national AAU finals at 125 to William Corbett of Somerville, MA.
In February 1918 fighting at 118, he defeated reigning amateur national champ James Tomasulo in Fort Hancock, NJ. At the time he was the reigning New York Metro 108 pound champ. (New York Times (2-14-1918)