Killa set for ESPN show

Charles ‘The Killa’ Whittaker has had a frustrating time getting a match recently but at least he knows when he’ll be fighting again.

His world title shot in Germany fell through so Whittaker’s next fight will be in the New Year against another world ranked fighter on an ESPN2 televised Friday Nights at the Fights show.

Charles Whittaker

Whittaker did not get world title shot Photo: Ron Shillingford

The Caymanian was hoping for a world title clash with WBO champ Sergei Dzindzirik in Germany this month but the Ukrainian chose another opponent leaving the West Bayer fuming.

Instead, he will take out his frustrations against the No.13 ranked Troy Browning in Key West, Florida on 18 January. ‘Browning is undefeated in 21 bouts. His people have accepted and so have mine so I’m looking forward to it. The Dzindzirik fight fell through but that’s life.’

Whittaker, 33, has won 29 of his 43 contests, including 17 knockouts. American Browning is a 40-year-old veteran who first fought pro in 1991. At 5ft 8ins he is short for a light-middle so Whittaker, a six-footer, will have considerable reach advantage in defending his WBO North American Boxing Organisation junior-middleweight belt. He has won both contests this year on points. Browning is a big climb down from a world title bout but he needs to win convincingly to stay in the world title frame.

Keeping trim running and working out at the Cayman Islands Boxing Club in George Town, Whittaker sparred with Caribbean light-heavyweight champion Jesse Bodden last week. He was impressed by the 25-year-old’s power.

‘Jesse’s a young talent, he’s got a lot of ability. All he needs to do is fine tune his technique to bring out what he’s got. He’s not timid in sparring but needs to learn how to get into a position to hit the guy and not get hit back. In a sense, he’s got too much heart for his own good.’

Whittaker craves the sort of money earned by his former opponent Mikkel Kessler, a multi-millionaire who lost his unbeaten record on Saturday night, unanimously outpointed by Welshman Joe Calzaghe in Cardiff. ‘It was a great fight and Kessler has nothing to be ashamed of. Calzaghe was superb. Kessler came out and did all that a fighter could possibly do but Calzaghe was just too good. I’ve always said he is one of the best fighters of all time. Certainly the best super-middle in history and that includes Roy Jones, Tommy Hearns and Ray Leonard. Calzaghe’s won all four major belts now.

‘When I fought Kessler seven years ago I didn’t know too much about him, only that he was unbeaten. I was broke and needed the money and was only given seven or eight days notice. It was in his home town in Denmark. He was much heavier. I weighed in at 156lbs and his camp said he weighed the same but he weighed 160-something. The commission didn’t back me up. I lost in three rounds but by fight night he was about three divisions heavier than me.’

Whittaker is relishing watching another huge bout this weekend when Miguel Cotto defends his WBA welterweight belt against ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Unbeaten Cotto will start favourite against the veteran but it’s far from a foregone conclusion as Mosley is an exceptional fighter who has beaten Oscar de la Hoya twice.

Puerto Rican Cotto, 27, has finished 25 of his 30 bouts early but been wobbled and floored himself a few times. The American may be 36 but he has only lost four times and they were twice each time against Vernon Forrest and Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright. A knockout specialist too, the Sugarman has won 37 out of his 44 inside distance.

Whittaker feels that experience will be the deciding factor here. ‘Cotto fights above his years and Mosley fights like a younger man but I feel that Cotto is not the complete package. Mosley is one tough, strong, hard-hitting individual and he won’t wither. Cotto is taking a big step up. He’s relying on his Puerto Rican fan-base in New York but Mosley has a lot of respect too and many will be cheering for him.

‘Cotto may have beaten Zab Judah in June and claimed that Zab’s a better fighter than Mosley but I don’t think so. I give it to Mosley on a decision in a good fight and wouldn’t be surprised if he knocks Cotto out. It’s going to be a hell of a fight.’

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