If Charles ‘The Killa’ Whittaker gets his world title shot there will be no lack of support for the popular Caymanian.
Whittaker has been offered a fight with Vernon Forrest, the WBC light-middleweight champion in March or April.
It’s a tough contest for Whittaker; Forrest is one of the best world champions out there, but with home fans rooting him on at probably the Truman Bodden Sports Complex, the West Bay banger could pull off Cayman’s greatest sporting achievement.
It’s all in the hands of the Cayman Islands government who are considering a proposal from Gary Shaw, Forrest’s promoter.
There’s no doubt that this would be the biggest sporting event in Cayman’s history if it comes off.
Boxing coach Donie Anglin is beside himself with excitement. He said: ‘The WBC is the biggest, most respected of all the boxing organisations.
‘That’s the highest you can go and it’s great for the country. It’s also good for the guys I’m training like Kendall Ebanks and Dariel Ebanks. It will inspire them and boost the whole sport.
‘Kids who already believe in Charles can try to emulate him or even become better and it’ll make them more confident about pursuing a boxing career.
‘I think of the lack of opportunities I had when I was boxing and hope he gets his chance. I give him a puncher’s chance because Forrest is a very good fighter, one of the best in the world.’
The old boxing gym behind the library in George Town closed last week and in the meantime before the new one opens in June, the temporary place the boxers train is a fully equipped room at the track.
Anglin is pleased with the new interest its attracted even though it only opened on Monday.
‘Even kids from the track are coming in to use the boxing gym,’ he said. ‘It’s an innovation for them. When the big gym opens, it’ll be even more space. Charles’s fight will be perfect timing if it comes off because it will give boxing a boost.
‘I’m really pumped up. The way the world is going now, a lot more people are turning to boxing to help defend themselves.’
Anglin is also pleased that the next boxing show will be at a unique venue – the Turtle Farm in West Bay. It’s on Friday March 14.
‘It’ll be the first time in over 20 years boxing has gone to West Bay and I hope everyone will come out and support our amateurs.’
Stanley Gordon, owner of Jillian’s sports bar, is also excited about seeing Whittaker fighting for a world title here.
He said: ‘Vernon Forrest is a really good fighter so this would be Killa’s hardest fight. But I believe Charles can win. He’s going to have home advantage and Forrest is on the slide at nearly 38. He has had a lot of problems with shoulder injuries and is a bit over the hill so I give Killa a slight edge.
‘If he beats Forrest it does a lot for Charles.’
Troy O’Neil is a former Caribbean light-heavyweight champion. He is also a boxing trainer and a mixed martial arts fighter.
He said: ‘If Charles can get one of his big rights in, he can blast Forrest out.
‘This would be great for boxing in Cayman and bring some light to the island, not just in boxing terms but for all sports and help tourism too.’
Even women who don’t follow boxing hope the big fight will come off.
Ali Amos is a skateboarder and flag footballer. She’s never attended a boxing show but would love to attend this one.
‘It would be huge,’ she said. ‘We’re not recognised enough for our sporting success and if Charles won it would help the profile of other sports. I’d definitely go, because it would be so big.’
Janelle Rivers, an ad services supervisor, said: ‘This fight would be so good for the island, all the publicity and exposure. It would open the market, not just in sport but tourism too and might attract bigger names.
‘Even Oscar De La Hoya might be interested in promoting here. I like Killa. I’m from West Bay too and he’s a cool guy – until somebody upsets him. We’ve never fallen out so I haven’t had reason to knock him out!’