Charles ‘The Killa’ Whittaker is in the best shape of his life after three weeks training in the Philippines.
Whittaker was based in Davao, 500 miles south of the capital Manila, where the only thing to do was train with local fighters.
The WBO NABO light-middleweight champion faces Luther ‘Sugarman’ Smith at the Lions Centre tomorrow and if Whittaker wins that he’s in line for that elusive world title shot.
West Bay’s Whittaker has a record of 29-12-2 (17 Kos). He could easily have saved himself a lot of hassle by training in Hollywood, Florida, but he wanted to be in optimum condition against Smith 23-6 (12 KOs) because a loss at this stage of his career would be disastrous. American Smith, 33, is a tough fighter capable of an upset even though he is on a losing streak. Whittaker, 34, has taken years to get to No.7 in the WBO rankings and knows that at 34 this is probably his last chance.
Whittaker flew back to Cayman yesterday bursting with energy. ‘I’m in great shape, I’m ready,’ he said. ‘I’m looking forward to tomorrow and I hope everybody comes down and supports me. I’m absolutely motivated.
He cannot praise highly enough Minister of Sport Alden McLaughlin for helping finance the Philippines trip. ‘I’m so grateful, I’m going to dedicate this fight to Mr McLaughlin. This is my way of showing him how grateful I am for supporting me.’ There are three exciting fights on the undercard.
‘Smith may have lost his last couple of fights but we don’t know the circumstances. There was a time when I was 0-5 and everybody wanted to fight me. I had to step back and analyse why. I was fighting just because I needed the money and I realized that this was my life, my career. So I got myself in better shape and got a great trainer in Norman Wilson. All of a sudden people didn’t want to fight me. My power is there. I want to win so badly and the way I trained for this fight I don’t think this will go long. Whatever happens, Charles Whittaker’s going to be the winner.’
Trainer Wilson needed to be in the Philippines for business and personal reasons which is why Whittaker took five flights over 36 hours to travel the 10,000 miles.
‘Charles is in great shape,’ Wilson said. ‘We had a full-course work out in the Philippines. Now we’re putting the final touches on it. I don’t like to talk about knockouts around fighters because when you do it puts pressure on them just to try to do that. A knockout eventually comes when you do what you’re supposed to do. Other than that we’ve trained to go 10 rounds.
‘In Davao it was isolated. You were away from family, friends, phone calls… all kind of distractions. You can’t do nothing but train. We had a training camp and he was training with nothing but Filipino fighters.’
Smith has lost his last three by knockout but Wilson is not taking anything for granted. ‘That’s what Smith did in those fights. But what he does with Charles could be another thing. We’re prepared for whatever he’s coming to do.
‘Charles has been working on his power and it’s really there. It could be an early finish.’
Whittaker wants a knockout Photos: Ron Shillingford