Cayman’s favourite boxer Charles ‘Killa’ Whittaker is bristling to get back in the ring and give local fans some more excitement.
Whittaker is one of the fiercest punching light-middles around and having won his last four contests in style, he is on the verge of getting into the world’s Top 10 rankings and possibly a shot at a major world title. He fights for the fifth consecutive time in his homeland next Friday, again at the Lions Centre on a bill headlined Rampage.
Whittaker, 33, had to summon his vast reserves of strength and resolve to overcome the equally tough American Jerome Ellis in April at the Lions Centre. Hurt in the first round, Whittaker’s 12 round battle to clinch the WBO NABO title was a gut wrenching one. Whittaker’s record is a patchy 28-12 but it includes 17 knockouts and losses to some of the best fighters in the world including Mikkel Kessler, the undefeated super-middleweight champ.
Whittaker could be in for a torrid time again against formidable Columbian Joel Miguel Barrios who has an impressive 21-1 record.
He was scheduled to meet Uganda’s Robert Kamya but when that bout fell through a rampage against Barrios was made.
‘I’m in fantastic shape and looking forward to entertaining my fans and thanking them in the best possible way with another win,’ Whittaker said over the phone from his training camp in Hollywood, Florida.
‘We had problems making the Kamya fight and Barrios is a late replacement. I don’t know much about him but with that kind of record he must be tough. Even if he was 1-21 I would give him the same respect.
‘I’m in great shape. My preparation has gone great with my trainers Norman Wilson and John David Jackson. Fights are won and lost long before you get to the arena and before you hear the cheer of the crowds and see the ring lights. To be successful you have to put in the hard work beforehand. In a way, fighting is the easiest part once you’ve done all the hard work. The fight is made at 154 pounds and I’m only five pounds above that with a week to go.
‘John is a former double world champion at light-middle and middle. He’s an amazing trainer who has trained fighters of the calibre of Bernard Hopkins and ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley. We’ve been sparring for this fight. He’s still in great shape, just bigger at 43 than when he was as an active boxer.
‘Norman is a great trainer too. He’s guided people like Donovan ‘Razor’ Ruddock, Mike McCallum, Trevor Berbick and Tony Tucker.’
Whittaker is looking forward to performing in front of Caymanians again who probably need cheering up after all the tension caused by Hurricane Dean.
‘Make sure you get your tickets from one of the outlets because you don’t want to hear on the Saturday about the excitement you missed the previous night because you didn’t get down to the Lions Centre to see me. It will be good to come home to entertain my fans again,’ he said.
There are three other international professional bouts on the bill and one amateur, between Cayman Islands Boxing Club gym mates Bruce ‘Lionhearted Bruce Lee’ Coulson and Eric McField at light-middle. Their trainer Donie Anglin made the match because they need the experience. Coulson went to the Caribbean championships in Trinidad this year as a complete novice but no one fought there because lack of sponsorship led to the tournament being abandoned. McField is a two-bout novice who won a bronze medal at last year’s Caribbean championships.
Anglin is refereeing the bout. ‘I want to protect both fighters,’ he joked. ‘They’re my children.’
Tickets for Rampage are available at Reflections, Funky Tangs, Devil’s Hangout, 4-Winds Esso in West Bay, Kings Sports Centre, or by calling 926-0749 or 939-8284 or 926-3030.