AMATEURS

Ben Whit­taker has boxed the best in the divi­sion at two ma­jor tour­na­ments this year

Boxing News - - Contents - Q&A

Q&A with top mid­dleweight Whit­taker

YOU’VE drawn the Olek­sandr Khyzh­niak (who would win the gold medal) at both the Euro­peans and the Worlds. Do you feel un­lucky?

I feel a bit un­lucky but you go to these places and you know you’re go­ing to come up against the best. So you just take it as it comes. If the draw comes, it comes and even with the In­dian lad [Vikas Krishan in the Worlds] I had a bit of a tough draw there.

I got the right tac­tics [the sec­ond time against Khyzh­niak]. In the first fight I stood there a bit too much.

What I should have done is ev­ery time I made him miss, hit him and oc­ca­sion­ally drive him back. It’s all well and good say­ing it but when you’ve got a kid like that com­ing it is hard.

You can’t let him have no chance. Even when I got caught with a jab, that’s giv­ing the judges some­thing to score for. If it’s a 50-50 fight they’ll al­ways go with the ag­gres­sor.

I had the right game­plan. When you’re just stand­ing with him, it’s a lose-lose sit­u­a­tion. When you’re just stand­ing there, he’ll just walk through you.

He looks ex­cep­tion­ally strong.

He’s ridicu­lous. He came from 81kgs, he needs to go back up there. He was at 81kgs for quite a while as well and then out of nowhere he came to 75kgs. He’s killing it at 75gs at the mo­ment, he’s do­ing well. You’d ex­pect him to slow up but he’s re­lent­less. Did you know much about him?

Fun­nily enough when I started in­ter­na­tional box­ing my coach back at home showed me a video of him and said look how re­lent­less this lad is. I was about 15 at that stage, 16. He showed me his WSB against As­ton Brown.

I went to this Euro­peans and seen him at 75 and thought a bit of a weird sit­u­a­tion. I watched him, thought I could be fight­ing him and then I drew him first. It was a funny sit­u­a­tion. Were you com­fort­able against Krishan?

We al­ways do video anal­y­sis down at GB. I was watch­ing him at the last Worlds in the quar­ter-fi­nals. It was a messy fight and I thought if I do al­low it to be­come messy it’ll be­come messy. When you’ve got a high cal­i­bre kid like that, who will know how to hold you and on the blind­side of the ref, you’ll end up in a messy bout. So what I thought is, how tall I am mid­dleweight, keep my range, any time he steps into my space, punch him. The first minute I knew I’d won. He didn’t have a clue, he was kind of stuck.

Photo: CHRIS BEVAN/ENG­LAND BOX­ING

TEST­ING TIMES: Ben Whit­taker has won two Eng­land Box­ing Elite ti­tles and is now tak­ing on the very best in the world over­seas

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