Charles ‘The Killa’ Whittaker has been training in the Philippines for his next fight, on Saturday.
Whittaker, 34, defends his WBO NABO light-middleweight belt against Luther ‘Sugarman’ Smith at the Lions Centre and after his three weeks in Digos, 500 miles south of the capital Manila, working with his American trainer Norman Wilson, he is in prime shape.
Whittaker always has to borrow heavily from the bank to put on a show in Cayman because there are no boxing promoters here. Sponsorship is sparse and this time he has borrowed $40,000. That’s why he couldn’t afford the trip to the Phillipines himself.
He cannot praise highly enough Minister of Sport Alden McLaughlin for helping finance this important trip. He said: ‘I’m so grateful for being out here. I’m going to dedicate this fight to the Honourable Minister of Sport Alden McLaughlin for funding my trip. This is my way of showing him how grateful I am for supporting me. I was a little bit reluctant to ask the ministry for money and I was trying to raise the money on my own. This has also been a blessing for me to help others.’
Whittaker is No.7 in the WBO rankings. He cannot afford to lose against Smith otherwise a world title shot will be lost. ‘I promise that Luther Smith is going to fall anywhere between rounds one and three rounds. My training’s going so good. The sparring’s excellent; I’m working the mitts, heavy bag and everything. Tremendous training. Nobody can push me like my trainer Norman. If he tells me to go outside and stand on my head, I’ll do it because I’ve got that sort of confidence in him.’
He hopes the Filipinos in Cayman will come out and support him in what is sure to be a pulsating night’s boxing.
Meanwhile, another big fight on Saturday night is the cruiserweight clash in England between Enzo Maccarinelli and David Haye. They have been swapping insults for years and cannot wait to fight at London’s O2 Arena.
Londoner Haye, 27, the WBC and WBA title-holder, said he can beat Welshman Maccarinelli, who holds the WBO belt, inside a minute of round one. Haye also claimed he has fought at a higher level than Maccarinelli, also 27. Maccarinelli has won 28 of his 29 paid fights, including 21 knockouts, while Haye has 20 wins from 21 fights, including 19 inside the distance.
Given these statistics, many expect the clash, which will take place in the early hours of Sunday for the benefit of an American audience, to be the most explosive domestic contest since Nigel Benn-Chris Eubank II in 1993. Promoter Frank Warren is confident the O2 Arena in Greenwich, which holds 18,000, will be a complete sell-out on the night.