Yesterday (Weds) in east London the final GB Tokyo 2020 medallist Ben Whittaker turned professional with the BOXXER promotional company in association with Sky Sports.
During last year’s delayed Games he captured the hearts of British supporters with his charisma and humour on his march to the final. Despite gaining a well earned silver medal he never became the Mayor of Wolverhampton (his hometown) which he pitched for, but optimism is high as he finally enters the professional ranks.
In a well attended press conference the 24 year old entered the stage after an intro and promotional video and then summed up his pleasure in finally signing professional terms “Well, they always say save the best ’til last and here I am !”.
BOXXER founder and CEO Ben Shalom went onto explain how sought after Whittaker’s signature was and his delight at him fighting under his promotional banner. “He was the one every promoter was circling around…He’s a generational talent, but also a personality…the perfect signing”.
He will be managed by Anthony Joshua’s 258 Management company.
Joined by internationally respected trainer SugarHill Steward who represents Detroit’s Kronk Gym and will be Whittaker’s trainer on him turning pro, the fighter went onto add “I know I wanna be a world champion. I want people to say remember Ben Whittaker, he was the best we had”.
His head trainer added he “is an extremely talented boxer, like a Roy Jones…an electrifying personality and talent…I believe Ben Whittaker has that whole package, to be a superstar”. When asked by The Undisputed to expand on what he saw and how he’d develop him, Sugar Hill added “Speed and skill and he can create things in the ring…we will be getting him to sit down on his punches and develop that knockout power”.
Ben Shalom explained how he would be matching Whittaker’s desire with his company “He wants to be moved properly, promoted properly” and he clearly saw BOXXER and Sky Sports as the vehicle to achieve that. It’s known that his signature has had many suitors and not come cheap, but having done the necessary groundwork and looked both stateside and across the UK, the Whittaker/Steward combination looks set for a good and exciting start. They completed the media event with a workout in the ring before all in attendance.
No date for Whittaker’s debut has been announced, but he explained his flexibility and intentions regarding weight categories, “I would love to hold 168 and 175lb (titles) together…I can jump in either/or”. Given his six foot frame it’s likely 175 (light-heavyweight) will be the weight finally settled on. This is arguably the most stacked division in British boxing, but one of ageing champions. In three years time the Wolverhampton man should be well set to compete for a championship and ultimately move on to achieve his ambitions. He has all the skills and charisma to be the standout from the Tokyo Games.
In our conversation with a BOXXER representative mid-event their intentions were clearly evident to develop a standout athlete and personality, not simply a talented boxer. Caution was explained on the potential pitfalls ahead, but the platform had now been provided for the fighter to excel.
Watch this space.