Former WBC 140lbs champion Junior Witter was often avoided during his 18-year career and, unfortunately, his rivalry with ex-IBF title-holder Ricky Hatton was never settled in the ring. But the Bradford switch-hitter says his greatest regret in boxing was not facing Floyd Mayweather.
Witter (43-8-2, 23 KOs) was the WBC’s No.1 contender for a year over the period of 2005-2006 before then-champion Mayweather vacated to campaign at 147lbs where he gained mainstream appeal.
“I was the mandatory (challenger) for a year and I should have boxed Mayweather. That was the fight I wanted. He moved up in weight and he didn’t have to fight me,” Witter told The Yorkshire Post. “He wasn’t the [world famous] fighter he has been in the last five or so years, but he was still one of the biggest names in boxing.
“It was a fight I looked at and thought I had a very good chance of winning it. Styles make fights and, knowing how I boxed and how he boxes, it suited me brilliantly and I think that is why the fight didn’t happen.
“They probably looked at it and thought it was too much of a risk for too little gain, so he moved up and I won the WBC title against DeMarcus Corley. It was surreal.”
Witter took the latter opportunity with both hands to outslick former WBO champion Corley over 12 rounds in September 2006 before losing his title in his third defence against a young Timothy Bradley in May 2008.
Never an easy proposition, Witter last fought in 2015 before confirming his retirement in 2018 with opportunities thin on the ground. The Corley win remains the shining moment of his career.
“[Corley] was a former world champion himself and was fighting as the favourite and, that night, I just performed again. It wasn’t the most entertaining fight, it was more of technical battle,” said Witter.
“That feeling was second to none because that was a true achievement. That was the night it all came together. I won the British, Commonwealth, European; I won them all. I did it the old fashioned way, winning all the belts and going on to win the WBC belt.”
The former Ingle Gym fighter is now passing on that knowledge at Witter’s Boxing Club in Rotherham where he trains Wakefield welterweight Dom Hunt (5-0, 1 KO) and Sheffield lightweight Matthew Hunter (1-0, 0 KOs).
Main image: Witter (left) schools Corley to win the vacant WBC 140lbs title (Sean Dempsey/Press Association).