He promised a knockout within three rounds and that is exactly what Cayman’s favourite fighter delivered to an ecstatic Lions Centre crowd.
Charles ‘The Killa’ Whittaker was in the best shape of his life against Luther ‘Sugarman’ Smith and from the opening exchanges it was evident that it would be an early night.
Billed as ‘Pride and Passion’ well Smith left the ring with little pride and did not show much passion to survive. It was all over by 2 minutes 59 seconds of the first round.
Smith, from Washington DC, arrived with a decent record of 22-6-2 (12KOs) but all his losses were from knockouts. Whittaker added a seventh – and probably the most impressive. He is now 30-12-2 (18KOs) and still No.7 in the WBO rankings.
Preparing in the Philippines with trainer Norman Wilson certainly paid off. Killa hurt Smith very early with a clubbing right. Wary of his power, Smith tussled the WBO NABO light-middleweight champion to the floor. That just prolonged the inevitable. The next time Whittaker connected with a flurry of punches, ending with a short right, Smith fell heavily.
He tried to get up on rubbery legs but resembled Trevor Berbick when he lost to Mike Tyson and kept on falling around, equilibrium totally gone. He staggered up at the count of nine but referee Bill Connors finished the count as it was clear Smith was in no condition to continue. He needed to sit on a stool for a few minutes just to be able to leave the ring unaided.
Minister of Sport and Education Alden McLaughlin was a spectator, so too was Tourism Minister Charles Clifford. Whittaker dedicated the fight to McLaughlin for helping him fund the training trip to the Philippines.
WBO champ Sergiy Dzinziruk is still in Whittaker’s sights, but the Ukrainian has to face the No.1 contender, Lukas Konecny, first.
Whittaker said: ‘It may have seemed like an easy night’s work but it wasn’t that straightforward. The fight was won long before I arrived in the arena. This fight was won in my early morning runs in the Philippines, West Bay Road and back in Florida, wherever I was training. The fight was won in the many hours sparring and conditioning in the gym, eight or ten rounds three or four times a week.’
Wilson said: ‘That performance was an A-minus because I had to tell him to do something. If I don’t have to tell you nothing then you’re an A-plus. I’m satisfied with his performance because he really worked hard. Came all the way to the Philippines, got away from all distractions and he ate just rice and fishheads. That’s all he ate. That would make you kill somebody!’
Whittaker has to bide his time some more before he gets a crack at that elusive world title fight. ‘I want to stay busy and will probably fight here again in June,’ he said. ‘Keep winning and keep myself active. The phone’s going to ring for my shot and I don’t want to get caught out, munching and all relaxed.
‘Konecny just took a tune up fight two weeks ago. He didn’t fight anybody with a record like Luther Smith. His record was 10-11 and he’d lost his last four by knockout.
‘Everybody’s kind of sitting and playing a safe game waiting for their turn. When you get to where we’re at there’s nothing to do but bide your time and wait for your turn. If you go through boxing history, no matter how great the fighter, everybody did it, got the right fights, stayed active and waited till their chance came.’
Was he inspired by the way he dispatched Smith? ‘Success always gives you more confidence, but like Norman says, you can’t take anything for granted. One thing I liked with Norman tonight is that he told me something and I executed it perfectly.’