Charles ‘The Killa’ Whittaker edged nearer to the world title fight he has pursued since first lacing on boxing gloves as a kid and being guided by the late Dalmain ‘Dee Dee’ Ebanks.
Whittaker outboxed his friend of 17 years, Florida-based Cuban Giorbis Barthelemy in Miami on Friday night to earn the right to fight the International Boxing Federation champion, Cornelius Bundrage.
Killa is now No.2 in the IBF ratings so if he doesn’t get a shot at Bundrage will have to fight a final eliminator for the right. Either way, 2012 promises to be a big year for the 37-year-old West Bay fighter who has struggled through setbacks in his 18 year pro career.
A jubilant Whittaker said: “The fight was a cat and mouse game. He was hard to fight because he didn’t really want to get involved and was constantly running. It was pleasing to see the Premier McKeeva Bush there and he brought a delegation with him. I’ve also got loads of texts and messages on Facebook.
“I had a large contingent of supporters, including my sister and her husband who came down form Orlando and other friends from Tampa. There must have been over 200 supporters so I was not alone.
“It’s taken me a long time to get to this stage and I’m grateful to the good team that I have around me, especially my trainers John David Jackson and Norman Wilson and my adviser Raul Alvarez.
“I couldn’t have done this without the support of the Honourable McKeeva Bush who has been vindicated after the much debated $100,000 he gave me to put on the show at the Cayman Arts and Recreation centre in June. If I hadn’t promoted that event and won the USBA junior-middleweight title then, I wouldn’t have got this fight with Barthelemy.
“I’m doing the country proud yet there is still criticism. Compared to the $1.5 million that the previous government spent on their Showtime show three years ago, that $100,000 spent is 15 less and it has had a much greater impact.
“They ran a big story on me in the Miami Herald on Friday and I’m on lots of boxing websites. The Cayman Islands name is constantly being mentioned. We are getting much better value than three years ago for a fraction of the price, so I’m grateful to the premier and his administration.
“Even the people who said I couldn’t get this far have helped fuel my fire. When this fight started and Barthelemy opened with some fast combinations, I remember the date of 11 September 2001 not just for the World Trade Center attacks, but because a senior civil servant told me that day I was getting too old and should retire. That was 10 years ago!” Whittaker returns to the Cayman Islands on 2 December.