Boxer feels sucker punched

Charles Whittaker has no problem coping with pain.

Cayman’s world ranked boxer is used to the often brutal world of the ring.

But the 31-year-old has been deeply hurt by what he sees as a snub by the government over sponsorship for a title fight here.

‘As a person who has represented Cayman for the last 17 years, I am hurt and disappointed with the treatment I have received,’ he says.

Whittaker feels that, based on a letter he has recently received from Sports Minister Alden McLaughlin, the government was ‘pushing me out of the door’ by raising a number of issues over the sponsorship and promotion of the event.

In the letter, Mr. McLaughlin says he is very supportive of Whittaker fighting in Cayman.

‘I believe it would be good for you, good for the sport in these islands and also good for our people to see you engaged in a title fight in your hometown,’ he says.

The letter refers to the $30,000 sponsorship being sought from the government as a significant sum but Mr. McLaughlin says that providing a number of concerns were addressed the Ministry of Sport would support the event.

Among the issues raised was one saying it was felt that the company formed by Whittaker – Knockout Productions Ltd. – did not have the organisational structure or resources to mount such an event.

Other issues were also raised over promotional, financial and insurance concerns.

In the letter Mr. McLaughlin proposed that, given the concerns, the Ministry of Sports produce the boxing event and that another company handle its organisation and promotion, while Whittaker continued to obtain as much additional sponsorship as possible.

‘Having done that you will then be able to devote your entire time and attention to training for the fight confident in the knowledge that the event itself is being properly organised and promoted and will be the success that you deserve it to be,’ says Mr. Mc Laughlin in the letter.

Whittaker says the other company being suggested had come up with a budget which he, having arranged a fight himself before and having been in the boxing business for many years, knew was too high.

Whittaker says he wanted his own company to promote the event and that he would have had no problems giving the $30,000 back after the fight, which he was confident would make money.

He has decided that the fight will go ahead here on 22 October without Knockout Productions promoting it.

Whittaker, who says that, based on what he had been told him in meetings with the government, he had already laid out several thousand dollars preparing the event, feels he has been treated with some disregard.

‘I am hurt, upset and insulted,’ he says.