Olympic silver medallist Ben Whittaker has set his sights on becoming the greatest British boxer of all time after signing a long-term promotional deal with BOXXER.
It was confirmed on Wednesday that the 24-year-old will launch his professional career on Sky Sports, after becoming the fifth Team GB member from last year’s Tokyo Games to join Boxxer.
Having become one of the stars of Team GB’s record-breaking success at the Olympics, thanks to both his huge talent and considerable charisma, Whittaker is confident he can also take the professional ranks by storm.
“Sky and Boxxer just made sense for me, where I am in my career,” Whittaker said at a news conference on Wednesday. “They’ve got a path where I can become the face of the sport, so I thought why not?
“I know I’m going to be a world champion. We’ll push that to the side because everybody says they want to be a world champion, but you have to believe it and I will.
“One thing I’d really like to do… in this country, everyone always talks about Nigel Benn, (Chris) Eubank, this and that… when my career is said and done, I want the country to say, ‘remember that Ben Whittaker, he was the best we ever had.'”
‘I chose SugarHill because he’s a teacher’
The anticipation for Whittaker’s professional debut has only been heightened by the announcement that he will be trained by SugarHill Steward, who has headed heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury’s corner since 2019.
Whittaker, who is managed by two-time heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua’s 258 MGT, revealed the process he had gone through to appoint Steward.
“He really breaks things down,” Whittaker said of Steward. “He’s a teacher.
“I did a whole trip of America, some gyms in England, and it just wasn’t for me. It was more fitness with people, it was more, ‘you’re already made.’ Whereas Sugar broke everything down, down to the simple jab and footwork, and I thought this is the man for me.
“I’m a beautiful boxer, hit and not get hit, that’s the game. But I want to bring in knockouts now. So we were just searching for the person that can bring the devastating knockouts, and SugarHill’s the man. So we went over there, we worked together, we clicked, and here we are.”
The admiration between fighter and trainer is clearly mutual, with Steward suggesting that Whittaker can have a similar impact on the sport to four-division world champion Roy Jones Jr.
“Ben has that whole package to be nothing less than a superstar in boxing, and to actually change the game of boxing to make it more of a household sport again, like it used to be,” Steward said.
“With Boxxer and Sky’s platform, I believe this is something that’s going to reach a high limit.”
‘I want to take Azeez’s British title inside five fights’
Whittaker wasted no time in setting out his plans for the start of his career, insisting he wants to take on British light heavyweight champion Dan Azeez within five fights.
“Under five fights I want Dan Azeez.,” Whittaker said.
“That’s some light work. I’ll get that title real quick, then we’ll just go on from there.”
Promoter Ben Shalom will be responsible for navigating Whittaker’s career, and believes the Wolverhampton fighter’s signing was perfect for both BOXXER and Sky Sports.
“We’ve not seen the likes of him before, he’s not like anyone else,” Shalom said.
“He’s a generational talent, but also a personality that isn’t trying to emulate anyone, isn’t trying to be someone he’s not.
“I think for us that’s why this was almost the perfect signing to set off what is a new era on Sky.”