There are times when special talents come along and make the boxing world take notice. Ben Whittaker is one of those fighters.
After finishing his successful amateur career with an Olympic Silver medal for Team GB at the 2020 Games in Tokyo, Ben was a hot prospect attracting attention from all the major promotions.
It was BOXXER who snapped the 25-year-old light-heavyweight star up on a long-term promotional deal, as he now trains with long-standing coach Joby Clayton and Tyson Fury’s head trainer Sugar Hill Steward.
Ahead of his awaited professional debut on July 30th in Bournemouth, Ben gave an insight into his life and career with quick-fire questions from BOXRAW.
When did you first fall in love with boxing?
You know, everyone says they fall in love with boxing and things like that, as soon as they walked into the gym. But I ain’t gonna lie, I hated it at first. The gym stunk, it was dirty. I thought, ‘man this ain’t for me’. I grew up in a house where everything had to be clean, but all that dirty stuff, I said ‘nah’.
But then I started winning fights and not even training, and I thought ‘ah OK, I’m not too bad at this’. So I thought if I train and put my one hundred per cent into it then where can I get? And next thing you know it landed me in the Olympics and now I’m turning pro. So it paid off.
Which fighter did you admire most growing up?
Growing up, the boxer I most admired was Mario Kindelan. I remember watching him in the Olympics against Amir Khan and what he did was just beautiful man. Hit and not get hit, the real art.
But then, dabbling into the sport, starting to learn about it, Tommy Hearns, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Pernell Whitaker, Floyd Mayweather Jr, just to name a few. All of those made me love the sport and made me really think, ‘yeah, this is the sport for me’.
What’s the biggest lesson you took from the Olympics?
The biggest lesson I learned from the Olympics was that I’m on that level now. I know I can perform under pressure. I know I can perform under the lights. And not only that, the little loss taught me that I got to keep pushing, that I’ve not made it yet. I got to keep pushing and leave no stone unturned.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a boxer?
If I wasn’t a boxer? Truthfully, I can’t even answer that question because all I know is boxing. If it wasn’t for boxing, I wouldn’t be where I am now. So, I’m very grateful for boxing.
Describe your boxing style in three words.
My style in three words? I ain’t got three words but I got two. The Surgeon. They call me ‘The Surgeon’ for a reason, cos’ I put on a clinic every time I fight.
What’s your biggest pet peeve in boxing?
Biggest pet peeve is people copying my swag man. There’s only one ‘Benzo’. I don’t like when people are copying my moves, man. But I see them! It’s a nice little touch but stay in your own lane.
What’s the most annoying thing a boxer can do in the gym?
The most annoying thing a boxer can do in the gym, personally to me, is talk too much. I’m there to work, I’m not there to make friends and chitter chat. I’m there to put work in, so you do you and I’ll do me. We’ll talk after the session.
Name a celebrity you’d love to KO.
KO a celebrity? Oh, I don’t know man. I’ve never thought about that but I see Jake Paul making some noise. He looks like he’s throwing out the money. So, everyone is calling him out, sign me up too.
Watch Ben's professional debut in Bournemouth on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports from 7pm BST.