Ben Whittaker may only have made his professional debut last month –– but he is already looking to become the star of the show.
The Midlander, who won Olympic silver in Tokyo before signing lucrative professional deals with Boxxer, Sky Sports and Anthony Joshua’s 258 Management, stopped Greg O’Neil on his bow in the paid code on July 30.
Whittaker’s second-round win at the Bournemouth International Centre meant that he was afforded a non-pay-per-view spot as part of the supporting cast to his manager Joshua’s attempt to become a three-time world champion.
The former WBA Super, IBF, IBO and WBO champion goes in against Oleksandr Usyk in a rematch on Saturday at the Jeddah Superdome in Saudi Arabia, looking to win back the titles he lost to the former undisputed cruiserweight champion, from Ukraine, at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London last September.
And Whittaker, who is trained by WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury’s former SugarHill Steward, will be in action against undefeated Croatian Petar Nosic on the card over six rounds.
At the final press conference during fight week, Whittaker said:
“I’m just treating this situation as an experience for me,”
“I believe that I’ll be fighting for those belts one day and I just want to see what the fighters go through.”
“That’s the magnitude of this fight and it’s great to be here. Looking at AJ, the nights he’s brought to Britain, it’s great for him and it’s great for the country.”
DAZN, to whom Joshua committed his broadcasting future back in June in a ground-breaking deal, will show the fight in the US, as well as more than 190 territories, including Canada, Spain, Germany, Italy, Japan and Poland, while Sky Sports Box Office will broadcast the fight in the UK & Ireland after paying £23million to do so.
Whittaker, whose promoter Ben Shalom of Boxxer has said they are “looking forward to a massive future” with him, believes Britain’s Joshua – who reckons his only chance of beating Usyk is by knocking him out when the pair also vie for the aforementioned Fury’s recently relinquished Ring Magazine title – will have what it takes to get the job done and potentially set up an undisputed super-fight with ‘The Gypsy King’, despite him announcing his retirement from the sport.
“The Brits should get behind him because too many people always downplay what he’s done.”
“I’m rooting for him, 258 are rooting for him and the rest of Britain should be too.”